On Nov. 23, Sherman, who was signed to the Bay Area team for $39 million in 2018, hand-delivered a check for more than $7,000 to clear student lunch debt at a Cabrillo Middle School in Santa Clara, California, a gesture that followed a larger donation to a Washington state school district.
“It’s the most generous thing to happen for these kids, there’s plenty in need and he didn’t neglect them, it was the perfect way to give back and help them,” said Principal Stan Garber of Cabrillo Middle School to ABC News.
The school is located less than four miles away from the billion-dollar Levi’s Stadium that opened its doors in 2014. Nearly 60 percent of Cabrillo students receive free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch daily.
Many of the diverse students come from homes where a language other than English is spoken, and nearly 20 percent of students receive special education support, according to the schools 2017-2018 School Accountability Report Card.
For Sherman, hand-delivering a personal check for $7,491.27 was a small financial sacrifice, but for the 60 students who may not know to dream beyond the parameters of their neighborhood, it was once less necessity they have to go without.
“It was the kindest, most generous gesture,” added Garber.
Sherman has a history of endeavors to uplift the youth and give back where he can through his organizations the Richard Sherman Family Foundation and Blanket Coverage Foundation. In October Sherman wrote a check for more than $20,000 to cover school lunch debt for the Tacoma Pubic Schools in Tacoma, Washington. In less than 60 days, Sherman spent more than $27,000 of his personal funds ensuring that students had access to school meals.
His continued philanthropy and acts of service are also why the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) named him Week 11 Community MVP.
Sherman has “helped more than 70,000 people in carrying out their mission of providing students in low0income communities with school supplies and clothing so they can more adequately achieve their goals,” said Brandon Parker, NFLPA’s communications manager.
Atlanta’s own rapper T.I. helped a Florida student who had her lunch taken away by a cafeteria employee for being 15 cents short in 2018. The University High School student’s mother, Kimberly Aiken, said she signed up for free and reduced lunch but at the time of the incident it had not gone into effect.
“My daughter said she didn’t have any money, so the cashier took her food,” said Aiken of the incident. “That’s the big thing – it’s eat breakfast, lunch, so that they can make sure that they’re doing good on their work. But then you starve my child?”
In the post’s comments section Tip expressed his disgust about the situation by writing, “This sh-t is despicable. This is the kind of sh-t that deters kids from coming to school. I’d like to take care of her school lunch for the year. I hate to hear this type of thing happening to our children. Petty ass, peon ass, poor excuse for a grown [sic] person.”
With the “Family Hustle” star shining light on the situation, similar stories about schools across the country began to pop up.
In May 2019 a Rhode Island school district came under fire for only a providing sun butter and jelly sandwiches to students unable to clear their lunch balance.
The post was littered with thousands of comments from people outraged that a school district would develop a policy that they saw as affronting the dignity of students.
“BUTTER & JELLY. My daughters never attended public schools in Warwick. I pay taxes. Please take my money that my daughters didn’t use & give these children some real food. Thank you. A PISSED OFF WARWICK TAXPAYER.”
“This is absolutely awful. Our schools shouldn’t be in the business of shaming children.”
Three days after the public thrashing, the school district took to Facebook yet again to explain their policy. They were met with more outrage.
“With the amount of taxes we pay in this city the kids should all be getting filet mignon.”
“#WarwickPublicSchool Stop. Just. Stop. Do not try to justify your despicable decision. just step up and claim it for what it is: You have decided that innocent children are LESS IMPORTANT than your $77,000 deficit. SHAME ON ALL OF YOU.”