Geno Atkins has been named Week 15 NFLPA Community MVP for his "Atkins Week of Giving," a seven-day campaign that directly impacted over 350 people in Cincinnati through holiday gifts, donations, dental services and charitable events.
"Atkins Week of Giving has brought so much to me and my wife's holiday season – this year and last year," the Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman said. "It's an honor to receive this award, especially during the holidays when so many of my teammates and NFL peers are doing incredible things as well."
From December 9-15, Atkins and his wife Kristen hosted a week of philanthropy for a second straight year. People of all ages and from all walks of life in the Cincinnati area were blessed by their widespread acts of kindness, which included:
- Uploading the barcode for a $500 Starbucks gift card to his social media page. Atkins not only encouraged his followers to enjoy coffee on him but to also pay it forward and share stories of how they did;
- Hosting lunch for 10 shelter guests and men in a recovery program at City Gospel Mission, a Cincinnati-based organization that provides emergency shelter services, recovery programs, job training and more;
- Providing 25 individuals in City Gospel Mission's JobsPLUS Program with a $100 gift card so that each of them could buy an outfit for a job interview.
- Granting BLOC Ministries Sports Performance Program with a cooler that will be stocked with Gatorade, protein shakes, protein bars and more through 2020. The program welcomes youth off the street and plugs them into organized team sports and exercise programs;
- Purchasing Christmas gifts for two boys in foster care at BLOC Ministries while giving additional necessities to BLOC's foster home called EPOH Home.
- Making a large donation to CincySmiles, an organization that provides dental care for homeless, veterans and at-risk youth in Cincinnati. As a result, that day's patients received full dental services for free and several gifts from the Atkinses.
- Holding a baby shower and luncheon at Old St. Mary's Pregnancy Center for 10 women in need. Each attendee received a huge gift bag filled with diapers, wipes, bottles, clothes and a Pack 'n Play.
- Treating 100 patients and their families to a large holiday party at Cincinnati Children's Hospital for a second straight year.
- Taking a family in need from their church on a holiday shopping spree for necessities. As they helped load up the items, the Atkinses gave the family another surprise -- their Jeep Grand Cherokee, which had been barely driven.
- Hosting a pairing from Big Brothers Big Sisters Cincinnati at the Bengals Dec. 15 home game. Atkins provided Tom (big brother) and Kaleb (little brother) with custom, autographed jerseys, pre-game sideline passes, tickets and post-game family passes;
- Donating $1,200 to Big Brothers Big Sisters Cincinnati, which will cover the pairing of a young boy whose mother has had numerous heart surgeries throughout his childhood.
"We hope we've inspired others to get out and give this holiday season!" said Atkins, who contributed more than $40,000 worth of items during this year's efforts.
The Pro Bowl defender has frequently demonstrated a passion for helping people throughout his 10-year NFL career. Last year, Atkins was honored as an NFLPA Community MVP for his first Atkins Week of Giving, when he surprised more than 50 deserving families in Cincinnati by paying their dental bills, providing new furniture, purchasing Christmas gifts, paying for car repairs, providing blankets to homeless individuals and more. He and his wife have also been avid supporters of anti-human trafficking efforts, faith-based organizations, shelters, job training services and youth sports performance programs.
In honor of Atkins being named this week's Community MVP, the NFLPA will make a $10,000 contribution to his foundation or charity of choice. Also, our supporting partner Pledge It has set up a crowdfunding campaign in his name called Tackling Exploitations to benefit BeLoved Atlanta, which is a community of restoration for women who have survived trafficking, prostitution and addiction. Donors can pledge contributions for every tackle recorded by Atkins this season, or they can make a flat donation at pledgeit.org/genoatkins.