A herd of Bills fans stampeded the Boulevard Mall to meet a few Bills players and help contribute to the Kids Escaping Drugs (KED) program on September 27th.
Fans could purchase a special souvenir KED poster sponsored by Verizon Wireless with proceeds going to KED. The poster features Bills running back/team captain Fred Jackson, wide receiver Steve Johnson, defensive end Chris Kelsay, defensive back Leodis McKelvin, running back C.J. Spiller, and safety/team captain George Wilson who were all in attendance to help raise over $8,000 for KED.
"It's awesome to see all of the fans support, to be able to raise money, and to be supporting KED is a great match," said Kelsay. "What better way to do it than to get in front of the fans after the start we've had, and to be helping out a great cause at the same time. It's our responsibility to help give back in some way, shape, or form to the community. These young men and women are very deserving of a fresh start."
Fred Jackson, who also visited with 2,500 students earlier in the day to kickoff the Bills Play 60 Challenge with 13 other teammates, has been supporting the KED program for four years.
"This is about helping kids get back on the right track, and what better program to be a part of," said Jackson. "I've worked with kids who have had drug dependency, and this is my 4th year doing the KED signing. Once I heard and had the opportunity to be a part of this, I jumped on board right away."
The Bills have been so great to KED," said Joann Hudecki, Kids Escaping Drugs executive director. "We have players come and speak to our kids, Leodis donates 20 season tickets to our kids, and we have such great relationships with the Buffalo Bills, and we are really so grateful for all they have done. The Bills have embraced us since the day we started the campaign in 1987."
All of the proceeds from the autograph signing will go to the Face to Face Program, which is an educational based program that KED runs in schools.
The fan turnout exceeded expectations and Jackson appreciated the fan's support of the program.
"The fans have been great, nobody compares to our fans in Buffalo," said Jackson. "Buffalo is so community minded, so I'm really happy to be here. This program changes lives. These kids would be in horrible situations if Kids Escaping Drugs didn't exist. The fact that the fans are supportive and everyone can come together is just a great thing."
Hudecki said, "I just can't thank the fans, Buffalo Bills and our friends at Verizon Wireless enough for showing their KED support."
For more information on KED, visit www.ked.org.