FOXBOROUGH, Mass.– In August of 2018, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu passed a bill allowing the New England Patriots Foundation to create and sell decal stickers for New Hampshire decal license plates. Following the team's win in Super Bowl LIII, six-time Super Bowl champion stickers were created and made available for purchase.
All of the proceeds raised through this program are being reinvested back into New Hampshire programs, supporting charitable causes that benefit individuals and families in need all across the Granite State.
Since its inception, the license plate program has been very popular among New Hampshire residents, and on Feb. 11, Families in Transition-New Horizons for New Hampshire (FIT-NH) became the first charitable beneficiary, receiving a $2,500 donation from the Patriots Foundation.
Former Patriots players Ilia Jarostchuk and Max Lane, Patriots cheerleaders and mascot, Pat Patriot visited the nonprofit in Manchester, N.H. and presented the donation. They also volunteered alongside Patriots season ticket members, sorting through donations and distributing food on the nonprofit's bread line.
"We love the support we have gotten from Patriots fans in New Hampshire who were eager to register for our license plate decals," said Josh Kraft, president of the Patriots Foundation. "This program gives us an opportunity to help those who don't need a hand out, but instead a hand up. We admire the work being done by Families in Transition-New Horizons for New Hampshire and are happy to support their efforts."
Since 1973, New Horizons has assisted low income persons by addressing the social issues facing them. Today, in partnership with Families in Transition, they provide hunger relief, emergency shelter, safe affordable housing and supportive services to individuals and families who are homeless or in need. These programs enable individuals and families to gain self-sufficiency and respect.
"We cannot thank the Patriots enough for their spirit, generosity and kindness," said Mary Silva, volunteer and in-kind donation manager at FIT-NH. "They brought smiles to people who often have a hard time finding joy."
During the visit, the Patriots Foundation also presented FIT-NH with more than 50 EMPWR coats. These specially designed water-resistant coats double as a sleeping bag and were hand delivered to individuals living on the streets.
The EMPWR coats were created by the Empowerment Plan, a nonprofit organization based in Detroit that is working to break the homelessness cycle by employing parents from shelters to manufacture these coats.
This program has helped to create more than 80 jobs and none of their employees have fallen back into homelessness. This winter, the Patriots Foundation has donated more than 500 EMPWR coats across New England.
"We appreciate the donation of funding and the resourceful sleeping bag-jackets for our most vulnerable NH homeless," said Mary. "However, even more significant was the time that the organization spent volunteering in the food pantry and the opportunity for clients and staff to meet the former Patriot players, the Patriots cheerleaders and Pat Patriot. Moments like this, along with such amazing generosity, clearly demonstrates the commitment of the Patriots to their community."
Patriots season ticket members– including Janice and Jeff Wilcoxson – enjoyed partnering with their favorite team to give back to the community.
"I think if you asked every person volunteering on Tuesday for their opinion, they would all give the same answer – it keeps our lives in perspective," said Janice. "When I'm cold, I can turn up the heat. When I'm hungry, I can walk into my kitchen and find plenty to eat. But on Tuesday, I got a firsthand look of what others face on a daily basis and I can't imagine living like that."
"Volunteering keeps me in touch with reality and is a constant reminder that, no matter how bad I think I have it, there are so many others who have it so much harder," Janice continued. "Seeing the people in the soup kitchen on Tuesday was startling. So if there are organizations like the Patriots that can work towards helping others in need, I'm there. We are so very thankful for what we have and to me it is so important to pay it forward."
To learn more about the Patriots Foundation and the New Hampshire license plate program, click here.