One of the best off-the-field stories of the college football season was the response to Joe Burrow’s Heisman Trophy speech, and reference to poverty in the Athens, Ohio area.

At a Peach Bowl press conference on Tuesday, Burrow was asked about the nearly $500,000 in donations to the Athens County Food Pantry, an organization that serves the area where Burrow grew up in southeastern Ohio.

“I think it’s awesome,” Burrow said, according to a transcript from ASAP Sports. “I think their annual budget was something like 70 or 80,000, and it’s up close to 500,000 now. I didn’t expect that. I didn’t say what I said — I just said it from my heart. That’s what I was feeling at the time and someone took it and ran with it. It’s been awesome. I couldn’t be happier for my area that it’s happening. I think it’s going to help a lot of people this Christmas.”

Immediately after the speech, donations poured in, and escalated quickly. The original goal was $50,000, and by the Tuesday, it closed in on $400,000.

In Burrow’s speech, he said, “Coming from southeast Ohio, it’s a very impoverished area and the poverty rate is almost two times the national average. There’s so many people there that don’t have a lot. And I’m up here for all those kids in Athens and Athens County that go home to not a lot of food on the table, hungry after school. You guys can be up here, too.”

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