Change Makers

How to cope during a pandemic: Tips from an NFL player

Like many Americans, Arizona Cardinals NFL player Kelvin Beachum Jr. and his wife have tough decisions to make during this coronavirus pandemic. Their 6-year-old daughter’s school is reopening in person soon, and they have to choose between no great options: missing out on kindergarten or risking COVID-19.

“At first, I told Jessie, my wife, ‘Hey, I don’t think it’s wise because if she goes to school and brings COVID back to the house and I get tested positive for COVID, I’m not able to play the game that provides for us,’” recalls Kelvin.

Kelvin realizes that he and his family are blessed. “I mean, I play football,” he says. The NFL lineman knows he won’t have to stand in a food bank line and is acutely aware that they’re way better off than a lot of Americans right now. That’s why he wants to help.

Check out Kelvin’s helpful tips for you and your family, a way you can support other Americans, and his amazing proud-daddy moment.

Tip #1: Make something out of nothing

Kelvin knows what it’s like to live in poverty in America. “I was one of those kids. My family wasn’t well off and we had to rely on government-based programs,” says Kelvin. “We were what they consider food-insecure or low-income families growing up.”

His parents worked hard to make sure there was always food on the table or in the pantry, but he knew it was a challenge. “We grew up finding ways to make something out of nothing,” says Kelvin, who admires the lessons his parents taught him. “Just because you don’t have everything you want, doesn’t mean that you don’t have something.”

Tip #2: Be about solutions

In high school, Kelvin knew there were kids worse off than him, and he wanted to be part of a solution. So he looked for ways to give back and ensure kids like him had access to food.

Now, Kelvin is giving back in a big way. He’s joined World Vision to help get emergency food kits to families in need. “We’ve got enough people talking about the symptoms and the problems that are going on. Let’s find a way to provide solutions for some of the issues, and concerns, and disparities that we have going on right now,” says Kelvin.

Thanks to Kelvin’s support, amazing donors, and churches throughout the U.S., World Vision has distributed more than 62,000 Family Emergency Kits, providing more than 4.6 million meals. The kits include a bounty of nutritious food and other essentials such as hygiene supplies and school materials.

Covid-19 Family Emergency Kits
Kelvin is promoting Family Emergency Kits from the World Vision Gift Catalog to deliver food and essentials to families struggling during the coronavirus pandemic. (©2020 World Vision/photo by Laura Reinhardt)

But the needs are still huge. According to one study, the number of families who worry about how to feed their kids has tripled due to COVID-19.

“The food kits are a way to be able to help folks with what’s going on right now to be able to get through this tough time. And we realize it’s a tough time that everybody is going through in some shape or fashion,” says Kelvin.

“I was a kid who benefited from federal feeding programs, and now I am blessed to have a platform and resources to pour blessings into others. I want to inspire giving that shows Christ’s love — so parents don’t have to make the tough choice between electricity and dinner for their kids.”

I want to inspire giving that shows Christ’s love — so parents don’t have to make the tough choice between electricity and dinner for their kids.—Kelvin Beachum Jr.

Tip #3: Notice the difficult disparities

Kelvin’s been advocating to end hunger and empowering people with access to clean water for many years now. But in this pandemic, he sees the disparities getting worse, particularly impacting children.

“You see the disparities across the globe even more than you would’ve seen before this,” he says. “It’s been difficult to watch and difficult to see the children that are struggling and the parents that are struggling.”

Kelvin could just stay in his bubble and enjoy the blessings he has, but he chooses to see what’s really happening. And as a dad, his heart is with the kids.

NFL Player Kelvin Beachum Jr. with World Vision in Honduras
Kelvin traveled to Honduras with World Vision in 2016, where he met kids like these, who are overcoming obstacles to pursue their education. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Eugene Lee)

“If you watch the news, every night you’re seeing these long lines, tremendously long lines at these food banks,” says Kelvin. “And who does that directly impact? It directly impacts the children in these homes.

“If you take that to a global scale, countries that don’t have great infrastructure, great logistics, great supply chain, to have this pandemic that’s ravaging some of these countries right now, you know the kids are struggling.”

Tip #4: Start from a place of empathy

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Kelvin used to travel frequently to speak at various events, including the Q conference in 2019. Now, he’s speaking to audiences across the country on virtual platforms. His main message for Americans? Empathy.

“If I would have a chance to talk to America right now, I would just say, ‘Let’s be a country that’s empathetic,” says Kelvin. “‘[A country] that understands that there are people who are truly hurting right now, and if we want to make America the place where we can all be able to experience the good things that come with this country, let’s find a way to help each other in this environment. I really think that comes from a place of empathy and a heart of empathy.’”

Life during a pandemic isn’t easy for anyone. As tough as it is for Kelvin and his family, he’s more concerned for people who are worse off.

“I have a family that’s going through some of the same issues that other Americans are going through with kids in school right now,” he says. “But even with that being said, I have no room to complain. I have no room to talk about what I may consider hard in my life, because what’s hard in my life is nothing compared to some of the hardships that other Americans are facing right now.”

Tip #5: Remember that the Lord is our Shepherd

Since mid-March 2020, Kelvin and his family have found a way to keep their eyes on God and grow in their faith, even as closures and the growing pandemic have brought stress and anxiety.

“Every night, we’ve been literally quoting the entire chapter of Psalms 23 together as a family,” says Kelvin. He and his family started reciting this passage when his oldest daughter was 5, his son was 2, and his baby would frequently interrupt with an “Amen” to try to wrap it all up.

“That has been a chapter that we’ve really been leaning on as a family,” says Kelvin about Psalm 23. “To understand that the Lord is truly their Shepherd and is really going to walk through the valley, and any valley that is, with them … it’s special for us and our family.”

Watching his now 6-year-old and 3-year-old memorize and recite The Lord is my Shepherd has made Kelvin and his wife incredibly proud.

“As a dad, you have your proud-dad moments — that’s been a proud-dad moment,” smiles Kelvin. “My mom came up a couple weeks ago, and both of them recited it for my mother. And to see her face and to see that proud grandmother, it just does something good for your heart, but it’s also something that you know is going to stay instilled in those kids for a long time. As a father, I’m really happy about that.”

Help families cope with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

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