Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is using his resources to help the Metro Detroit community fight the COVID-19 pandemic while still getting ready for the 2020 NFL season.
Stafford and his wife Kelly are launching programs on multiple levels this week to assist in dealing with changes in daily life and hardships brought on by the virus.
It is one more example of the charitable and humanitarian causes the Staffords have undertaken since Matthew came to the Lions in 2009.
"Obviously, Kelly and I feel really blessed to be in the situation we're in," Stafford said. "Some of that comes with respect to the people who are in your community and have been having a hard go of it. This virus is affecting all people, and people in all areas.
"We're trying to help out what is home to us, and what's been home to us for 12 years."
That doesn't mean Stafford won't be ready whenever the Lions begin work to get ready for the season. He has maintained his customary offseason workout program in a comeback from having his 2019 season end after eight games because of a back injury.
"I spent some time in California over the last couple of months, working out and throwing with those guys," Stafford said.
Stafford reiterated what he said after the final regular season game, that he'll be ready whenever the offseason program begins.
"No doubt," he said firmly. "I kept up with what we're doing, and other teams across the league. It's one of the few things to take your mind off what's going on around the world."
But the man who has spent his career scanning playing fields for the best options has his focus on supporting Metro Detroit's community fight against COVID-19.
Matthew and Kelly are launching the following two programs this week:
A financial commitment of $100,000 on two fronts: Forgotten Harvest, which delivers 138,000 pounds of food to local charities six days a week, and the Detroit Public Schools Community District's efforts to provide immediate relief to students impacted by the crisis.
And they're providing meals for first responders and hospital workers at restaurants in the vicinity of four area hospitals.
A $5,000 credit is being established at each of four restaurants in proximity to four hospitals to assist people such as first responders and hospital employees to get takeout meals after work.
The hospitals and participating restaurants are as follows: Henry Ford, midtown Detroit – Slow's to Go; University of Michigan – Zingerman's Deli; Beaumont Royal Oak – Wahlburger's; St. Joseph Oakland, Roadside B & G.
"We're going to take some heat off them and put some meals on us," Stafford said. "It's our way to say, 'We appreciate you,' and fuel them up for the fight.
"We're just trying to inject some cash (in small business) and have those people staying safe."
This is not the first time Matthew and Kelly Stafford, either separately or together, have made substantial contributions involving finances or personal time to programs throughout Metro Detroit.
Among them is their support of the renovation program they helped launch in 2015 of the Lipke Recreation Center on Detroit's east side. They also adopt several families during the Christmas holiday season and provide gifts.
Many of their donations and involvement in programs they support are done without publicity or fanfare.