It’s often said that there is power in numbers.
There is also something to be said, however, of the power of the individual.
This has certainly been the case for Bills superfan Ezra “Pancho Billa” Castro, who after losing a courageous battle with cancer last month, continues to inspire others to make a positive impact.
His wish for fans to donate backpacks filled with school supplies to children, came to fruition in a big way with the “Pancho’s Pack” event held earlier this week at New Era Field. After receiving $100,000 in donations, enough to provide 10,000 kids with a backpack this school year, The Teacher’s Desk of Buffalo and the Bills teamed up to help fill them. Huddling for a good cause, Bills players such as Harrison Phillips, Stephen Hauschka, Dion Dawkins, Lorenzo Alexander and Reid Ferguson, joined staff and over 250 volunteers to stuff 5,000 bags. Of the finished backpacks, 3,000 will be sent to Texas, Castro’s home state, and the remaining allotment will be distributed throughout Western New York.
In honor of Bills superfan Pancho Billa, the Bills teamed up with The Teacher’s Desk of Buffalo to host a backpack stuffing event. Bills players, staff and over 250 volunteers came together to fill 5,000 backpacks for kids this school year.
As groups of supporters worked together to fill the bags, they also celebrated Castro’s life. Some even proudly wore their “Pancho Power” t-shirts. Watching it all unfold was certainly impressive, but the true takeaway from the event was even more so.
Despite facing adversity, Castro’s love for life and his community never wavered.
“It was just really cool to be a part of the community,” said Bills veteran linebacker Lorenzo Alexander. Obviously, I’m a Buffalo Bill and I wore my jersey there but I’m just like every other member of the Buffalo community. This is probably my family’s favorite place that I’ve played because it has such a family feel to it and you can just see how Bills Mafia continues to come out and support us, Pancho and his family…So, it’s really cool to be a part of that and to be a part of the legacy that Pancho left behind.”
“I wanted to participate, mainly because of what Pancho meant to the community…not just the local community in Buffalo, but as well as nationwide and all the Bills fans around the country and kind of fulfilling the legacy that he wanted to leave behind,” said Ferguson.
As the kids use their backpacks, they will be reminded of Pancho Billa and his bravery through a placard that has been placed on each one.