Editor's note: The above video was published in Feb. 2019 and details Travis Frederick's battle with Guillain-Barré syndrome.
Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick raised $250,000 for local food banks as part of his "Steak-Out Hunger" event Monday evening at the Omni Frisco.
The All-Pro center has been a key contributor towards helping fight hunger in North Texas, a mission that was borne out of his volunteer work as a rookie in 2013.
"I went downtown and handed out meals and saw these kids going through the line and saw them getting that first meal. It really tore at my heartstrings," Frederick said. "These kids didn't get a chance to eat normally and this is one of their first meals. And I knew at that point I needed to help those kids."
Shortly thereafter, Frederick established his Blocking Out Hunger Foundation. The 2013 first-round pick from Wisconsin was counting on the generosity of North Texas to help fuel his outreach.
"For me, as a rookie, you come in here and you get invited to a lot of charity galas and things like that," Frederick said. "I saw that generosity that everybody had. Everybody wanted to help. There's a ton of people in Dallas that wanted to help, and I knew that I needed to help somebody."
The Blocking Out Hunger Foundation has two programs: Travis' Pantry and Nourish2Flourish. The former installs actual food pantries in Title I schools in the Dallas area. According to the foundation's website, students can bring home meals on weeknights and weekends, "allowing for more nutrition in their diet."
Nourish2Flourish is somewhat of an extension of the pantry program. When schools are on extended breaks, under privileged students are unsure where to get their food. With the Nourish2Flourish program, the nonprofit Sharing Life provides boxes of meals each week to students throughout the extended breaks.
Over 2,000 students have received meals, according to the foundation, since the program's 2017 inception.
Frederick's giving back to the community was somewhat of an investment. When Frederick missed the entire 2018 season with Guillain-Barré syndrome, some of the kids from the Travis' Pantry program reached out to him to show their support.
"Actually one of the schools that has a pantry in it," said Frederick. "I got sent get-well notes and pictures from the kids. So those kinds of things mean a lot. And it's exciting to know that the kids that we're helping here are our thankful and happy about what they're getting."
For Frederick, giving back to the community and helping the less fortunate is part of the mission as a member of the Cowboys organization. The eyeballs are focused on Dallas and the huge visibility of the club allows for messaging to direct energy towards providing for the greater good.
"For me, it's a huge thing to be on the Dallas Cowboys. There are a lot of different reasons, but for us, it gives us an immediately larger platform to talk on. And there are people who are always listening," said Frederick. "You know, America's Team, you have the most followers of any team, and when we say something, people are listening and people are drawn to those kind of things. So we get incredible support just because I play for the Dallas Cowboys."
As long as Frederick is with the team, he won't just be leading the club's offensive line and main blocking unit; he will also be blocking out hunger the best he can for underserved kids in North Texas.
Share your thoughts on Travis Frederick’s leadership within the community with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.
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