Texans defensive end J.J. Watt is the first to admit that he grew up in very fortunate home. A Pewaukee, Wisc., native and son of a firefighter, he never had to worry about missing a hot meal.
That's not the case for a lot of families in Houston, which is why the Texans partnered annually with H-E-B on the Sacks for Hunger program since the start of the 2010 NFL season. Through the initiative, H-E-B donates $1,000 to the Houston Food Bank each time the Texans defense records a sack during the regular season and playoffs.
"My parents were always able to provide for me, and I understand that not everybody in this world has those same opportunities," Watt said. "To be able to be part of a program like this and to be able to have every single sack I get directly affect putting meals on the table for people that may not have them, that's a big deal."
Watt, team president Jamey Rootes and H-E-B senior vice president Armando Perez presented a check for $47,000, for the 47 team sack total in 2012, to president and CEO of the Houston Food Bank Brian Greene on Friday. This money translates into 141,000 meals for hungry Houstonians.
Watt's contribution alone, which totaled to a league-high 22 sacks, generated enough money to feed 66,000 families.
"It's so cool to know that your play on the field is affecting people's lives off the field," he said. "To know that we're helping so many hungry people, I'm honored. Hopefully next year it's even more."
Following the check presentation, Watt helped package non-parishable food with Texans Care volunteers and Houston Food Bank employees.
"I'm enjoying this," he said after stacking cereal boxes and canned vegetables into cardboard boxes. "To see how it all works, to see these people volunteering their time and giving back, that means a lot.
"That's kind of what this city's built on; people helping other people."