Davon Godchaux was only in middle school when Hurricane Katrina pummeled his native Louisiana, but he remembers kids from New Orleans relocating to his hometown of Plaquemine outside of Baton Rouge. He felt helpless then, but now, as a veteran in the NFL, Godchaux is in a position to help his home state.
"When I was young, I always wanted to give. People never really gave back to where I'm from," Godchaux said. "I always said if I make it big, that's what I want to do. I want to give back to the community, give back to the people."
With the Chauxdown Foundation, established while he was in Miami, he is doing just that. The goal of the foundation is to help kids, whether it's mentorship or focusing on well-being, education and fighting childhood obesity, Godchaux is making sure he is using his platform in the NFL for good.
When Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana in August, Godchaux knew he wanted to do provide relief to those hit and without power. Between the hurricane and COVID, Godchaux said people are "going through hell again." Just like in football, he knows that a team is more impactful than one person on their own. He set up a link for people to donate directly to the people in Louisiana through his Chauxdown Foundation.
"Now that I'm able to give back and help people I want to do it. I want to have my brothers, my teammates help me do that if they can," Godchaux said. "I don't want to burden anybody's pockets, but I also want to give back a significant number because it's really devastating down there."
But the new Patriot isn't just pouring into his hometown. He's already giving back to his new football city.
On Sept. 14, Godchaux spent an afternoon handing out backpacks to kids at the Blue Hills Boys and Girls Club in Dorchester to help help as they return back to school.
"They're so excited, though they give me a little grit because we had a tough loss to the Dolphins," he said. "It was very exciting. Kids are going to be kids. I love to see the smiles on the kids' faces."
As a first-year Patriot, Godchaux knows fans love their sports teams and hold them to a higher standard. That lesson was doubled down by the kids razzing him after the loss, but being able to show up in the city and give back is a great way for him to get to know the people here.
"Everyone has a story. They just want to know your story, know your background and what can my foundation do to help. Giving back doesn't always include money," Godchaux said. "Sometimes it's conversations, learning from others … The more you get out in the community, I think the better off it is. It's a new environment for me because I was in Miami for four years. Im in a different culture in Boston. I want to get to know people."
It's also a chance for them to get to know him, too.
"I just like to be that positive role model, that positive leader," he said. "All it takes for me to change is one person. If I can change one person, then I feel like I did my job. I try to have that mindset and try to make sure I have an impact on someone's life."
If you want to donate to the Chauxdown Foundation's Hurricane Ida fundraiser, you can do so here.