Bills players "Hometown Huddle" with United Way

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The Buffalo Bills Toyota Rookie Club joined the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County and the American Dairy Association & Dairy Council, Inc. to celebrate the 12th annual Hometown Huddle at the Buffalo Zoo on October 5, 2010. The event brought together Buffalo Bills players and children through a national partnership between the NFL and the United Way and a local partnership between the Buffalo Bills and American Dairy Association & Dairy Council.

As part of the Hometown Huddle, kids from the Buffalo African American Cultural Center, Concerned Ecumenical Ministry to the Upper West Side of Buffalo, NY Inc., and the Valley Community Association participated in activities that involved health and wellness, fitness and nutrition.

There were three interactive stations at the Hometown Huddle – a nutrition program where kids learned how to make healthy snacks with dairy and fruit, a health and wellness program called "Jump with Jill" (a rock 'n roll approach to nutrition to revolutionize the way kids learn about health), and a Mini Recharge fitness station where kids were led through football themed drills that focused on football fundamentals and physical activity.

Buffalo Bills players Danny Batten, Levi Brown Alex Carrington, Antonio Coleman, Marcus Easley, Dominique Harris, Cordero Howard, Donald Jones, Arthur Moats, David Nelson, Naaman Roosevelt, John Russell, CJ Spiller, Torell Troup and Ed Wang participated in each of the three stations.  They encouraged the kids to be active for at least 60 minutes each day as a part of the Play 60 program and eat healthy as a part of the NFL's Fuel up to Play 60 program.

"This is my hometown so I have a great time when I get to give back to the community that I call home," said Roosevelt. "We helped the kids learn just to have fun and eat healthy. I'm even learning how to make a yogurt parfait. I didn't realize how much goodies you can put in your yogurt and still stay on the healthy track."

"Today was fun, a lot of kids and a lot of laughs," said Troup. "It's really important to get the message of health and fitness out to the youth and any way that we can come together and do that is great. I definitely got in my 60 minutes of exercise in today!

Additonal elements at the Hometown Huddle included appearances by Team Mascot Billy Buffalo, gift bags for each participant, pictures of the kids with milk mustaches, an opportunity to tour the Buffalo Zoo, and the purchase of new sneakers for each participant.

"Fuel up to Play 60 brings together everything you need to develop a healthy lifestyle: our dairy farmers tradition of providing nutritious dairy products to children and the commitment to vigorous daily activity encouraged by the NFL"  says Richard Naczi, Chief Executive Officer of American Dairy Association and Dairy Council Inc.

The NFL/United Way "Hometown Huddle" is a day of service that provides NFL players and coaches from each team the opportunity to take part in a variety of community-service activities. On one designated day each year, "Hometown Huddle" events are co-hosted in every NFL city by the respective NFL franchises and local United Ways. Started in 1999, Hometown Huddle continues to help make a difference in communities across the country.

In 2007, the NFL launched a national youth health and fitness campaign designed to tackle childhood obesity called NFL Play 60. NFL Play 60 focuses on the health and wellness of young fans by encouraging them to be active for at least 60 minutes a day. To launch NFL Play 60, many of the NFL teams and United Ways used their Hometown Huddles to focus on youth fitness.

Fuel Up to Play 60 is the in-school nutrition and physical activity program founded by National Dairy Council® (NDC) and the National Football League, based on a mutual commitment to the health of the next generation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has joined the effort as well as many businesses and industry leaders. This comprehensive program focuses on promoting healthier eating and more physical activity opportunities school wide. Students and adults work together to select and implement a series of "Plays" that result in long-term changes in these two important areas. Along the way, students become empowered to lead – by making healthy decisions, taking action for change and encouraging their friends to do the same.

For more information on the Jump with Jill program, visit www.jumpwithjill.com.

The Buffalo Bills and the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County share the hope that this event will help the community focus on improving the health and fitness of our youth. For more information, please call 887-2626 or visit www.uwbec.org or www.liveunited.org.

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