Life’s priorities are not something you add to your life. They are a course you choose.
I am a Christian. Every day I make the choice to put God first and allow my love and pursuit of Him dictate where I spend my time, the interests I pursue, and the order of my priorities.
I am a father, husband, brother, and son. Aside from God, my family and I share the most unfailing love. They are the ones who know me best, accept and support me unconditionally, teach me, laugh with me, laugh at me, and share my memories.
I am a professional athlete. Every day, I suit up with the intention to protect my quarterback, block my opponent, fight alongside my teammates, and most importantly, win.
Faith, family, football. This is my foundation.
With a solid groundwork rooted in offering and community, I am able to pursue my passion of servanthood – specifically ending hunger.
Samuel Perez de Dios, 64, of the Fountain of Life Savings Group in Gracias, Honduras shows NFL player Kelvin Beachum, Jr. his field. World Vision supports the Fountain of Life Savings Group, now 48 members strong. The group began in 2003 with 18 people. The success of the project has attracted 30 new members, who watched as it grew from a savings group worth $8,000 to $26,000. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Eugene Lee)
NFL player Kelvin Beachum, Jr. plays American football (Fútbol Americano) with students from World Vision’s Agua Blanca project and peer-to-peer tutoring program in San Juan, Honduras. The Agua Blanca program teaches children to educate their peers and parents about good sanitation and hygiene practices for better health. A World Vision-built water reservoir that sits high up the hillside above the school pipes clean water to the community. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Eugene Lee)
As children clapped and cheered around Kelvin Beachum, Jr., of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, the 316-pound offensive tackle hoisted 10-year-old Kevin Ariel onto his shoulders. With a huge smile, Kelvin marched into the school through a tunnel of game-day-like fans. It’s not quite the same as an American football game, but to these children, Kelvin’s presence and helping heart made him their MVP that day. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Eugene Lee)
Globally, 795 million people are hungry. Malnutrition causes nearly half of all deaths of children under the age of 5 (nearly 3 million per year). Hunger and malnutrition rob men and women of healthy, productive lives, and stunt the mental and physical development of future generations. Hunger is threatening, hunger is painful, hunger is debilitating — but with implementation of the Global Food Security Act, and various initiatives and volunteer efforts, hunger is also conquerable.
After decades of declining support for farmers in developing countries, renewed U.S. leadership sparked a global commitment to help people feed themselves. Governments, companies, universities, and NGOs have all recommitted to fighting hunger and poverty through new agriculture-focused investments.
On my visit to Honduras last summer, I visited an economic empowerment project that provided savings plans, education for kids, clean drinking water for an entire community, and water for agricultural irrigation. Organizations like World Vision begin with the basic needs of a community and expand them to help provide self-sustaining solutions for community members to build out businesses.
The U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future (FTF), takes a comprehensive, sustainable approach to agricultural development and is leading the implementation of the Global Food Security Act that was passed into law with strong bipartisan support in 2016. Investments focus on country-owned plans, and emphasize the importance of gender equality, nutrition, mitigating climate change, and natural resource management. Drawing on resources and expertise from 10 federal agencies, FTF is helping countries, transform their agricultural sectors and sustainably grow enough food to feed their people. In 2015, FTF helped nearly 9 million farmers and food producers use new technologies and management practices on more than 3 million hectares of land. This same year, FTF reached almost 18 million children with nutrition interventions.
Since becoming a father, it has become even more important for my voice to be heard on behalf of children who are hungry. God has provided me an NFL platform and has seen fit to propel me toward working with groups like Bread for the World, Feeding America, and World Vision to be an agent for programs and policies that will help those in need, both domestically and internationally. My commitment to faith and servanthood drives me to volunteer weekly at various food banks across the country to help serve my neighbors and community.
My foundational priorities of faith, family, and football dictate where I spend my time and the interests I pursue, and I choose to end hunger.
Kelvin Beachum Jr. is a husband, father and offensive lineman with the New York Jets. He and his wife, Jessica, have a daughter and live in Jacksonville, Florida.