The Pittsburgh Steelers were out in the community full force Tuesday, as multiple players used the off day as an opportunity to give back.
Running back Najee Harris spent the morning discussing the importance of nutrition with students from Pittsburgh’s Barack Obama Academy of International Studies.
Supporting Hunger Action Month, Harris helped debut new Grab and Go equipment, such as a meal cart, for Pittsburgh Public Schools.
“The school meal program is really important,” Harris told Steelers.com. “Not everyone has the resources for food, and sometimes getting the meals at school is the only source of food they have. I think it’s important for the kids and the schools to invest in giving the kids the best nutrition possible.”
Harris spoke with students in the gymnasium, and even shared his own personal experiences growing up with food insecurity.
“I can relate to what they are going through,” Harris told Steelers.com. “I understand how important it is to have nutrition. I have been in that situation, that is why I do stuff like to help provide for them and let them know what they are going through doesn’t go unnoticed.”
Nonprofit GENYOUth also contributed 26 NFL FLAG-In-Schools kits to Harris’s Da’ Bigger Picture Foundation. The kits provide school physical education departments with the necessary equipment to add flag football to their curriculum. Lastly, the NFL’s Fuel Up to Play 60 initiative donated $10,000 to Pittsburgh Public Schools.
Harris wasn’t the only Steeler giving back Tuesday either, as a trio of players facilitated the most recent installment of the Social Justice Committee’s film screening program.
“It’s amazing,” Sutton told Steelers.com. “It’s an opportunity to spread knowledge that they are not necessarily familiar with, knowledge that might be hidden to them. Things they aren’t aware of that can be close to their communities and their outer communities as well. It’s the chance to continue to spread the knowledge, the love and bring people together through life situations and societal circumstances. Things we go through in life on a day-to-day basis that we can come together on and agree or disagree, but still move in the right direction to make the world a better place.”
Cornerback Cameron Sutton, guard Kevin Dotson and safety Elijah Riley hosted a showing of Judas and the Black Messiah at the Carnegie Science Center on Tuesday night.
The film, which was chosen by Sutton for the screening, is a biographical piece centered on Fred Hampton, the former chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party killed by Chicago Police in a raid of his apartment in 1969.
“The whole story, Fred Hampton and his time, how he affected so many people,” Sutton told Steelers.com. “It’s getting the kids to agree and disagree on life situations like this. They are not just going through these things for the first time, the life situations they are in. They are things that happened historically before them. A lot of this stuff is out of our reach, the government issues, community issues. But we can do our part. If we don’t take the initiative, how can we ever say we want change or move in the right direction for those things.”
The team’s Social Justice Committee launched the film screening program in 2021.
Steelers captain Cam Heyward kicked off a whole week of charitable events by visiting UPMC Children’s Hospital with T.J. Watt on Monday. He’s calling the series of events Cam’s Kindness Week.
“Cam’s Kindness is a week where we get to pay tribute to people in our community,” Heyward said. “We get to find a way to give back, find a way to celebrate and find a way to have fun.”
Tuesday, Heyward read to children at the McKeesport Presbyterian Church’s Head Start program and attended the ribbon cutting for Craig’s Closet at Obama Academy, a program he began in honor of his late father, Craig “Ironhead” Heyward that provides city boys dress clothes for interviews, internship and more.
The rest of the week, Heyward will be at Angel’s Place for a toy drop-off on Wednesday, take part in a community cleanup in Sheridan on Thursday and will be hosting area girls flag football players for practice on Friday.
“I can’t say enough about what Cam does in the community with the Heyward House,” head coach Mike Tomlin said at his weekly press conference Tuesday. “I know he’s out in the community each and every day this week displaying acts of kindness and other things. We’re just so honored to be associated with that guy and the way that he leads, not only within the organization but within the community.”