As a way to thank fans for embracing him so quickly in Cleveland, the Browns’ Odell Beckham Jr. donated a supply of fleece blankets to Ohio’s largest homeless shelter.
In early December, Cleveland staffers visited Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry’s men’s shelter, which serves more than 350 men per night, according to USA Today’s Nancy Armour. Beckham wasn’t able to go, however, as he was en route to Arizona for the Dec. 15 Cardinals game.
In his stead, OBJ sent along 100 “large, plush, fleece blankets,” each folded and tied with a ribbon.
“Man, some people don’t even have a place to keep themselves safe and warm,” Beckham told USA Today. “Unfortunately, that’s the way the world works. There are people out there, outside, suffering.”
Beckham sent a video saying he wanted to do something to “show [his] love back” to Cleveland.
Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry is honored @obj of the @Browns donated 100 blankets to our Men's Shelter. Just in time for the holidays, those who are homeless in Cleveland will be keeping warm with this very special gift from a hero on and off the field. @BrownsGiveBack #give10 pic.twitter.com/6yENAwAfOm— LMM (@LMMCleveland) December 14, 2019
Employees and occupants of the shelter appreciated his gift.
“When I think about a blanket, it’s about human survival. But it also has the metaphor of home and comfort,” Erin Kray, Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry’s associate director of housing and shelter, told USA Today. “He didn’t just buy hospital blankets or ones that are functional. He bought ones that he’d want his grandmother to have. It’s really about comfort and home.”
Maurice Anderson, who told USA Today he has been homeless “for a while,” echoed Kray’s sentiment.
“That touched my heart. ... The blanket is very comfortable. Very, very comfortable. And it’s soft. Real soft,” Anderson said. “Coming from OBJ, that’s a plus. It’s very sentimental to me.
Beckham Jr. — who didn’t promote his donation on any of his personal social media accounts — isn’t the first athlete to make a goodwill gesture this holiday season, and almost certainly won’t be the last. But every bit counts.
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