For more than six months of his teenage life, the only steady shelter that Brandon Williams had was his mother’s Pontiac. With their belongings packed in the trunk and backseat, Williams, along with his mom and brother, bounced among the homes of relatives while struggling to make ends meet.
That humbling experience is what drove the Baltimore Ravens defender to adopt the Westport Boys & Girls Club last year. Since then, Williams has been committed to making a difference in each child’s life on a monthly basis. His latest efforts involved funding a special Halloween party featuring pizza, snacks, candy, juice, pumpkins and decorations so that the kids could celebrate the much-anticipated holiday.
Because of what he went through as a child, Williams doesn’t view the thousands of dollars and countless hours spent in the Baltimore community as a sacrifice. To him, it’s necessary. That devotion to serving and connecting with families in need has paved the way for Williams to be named Week 8 NFLPA Community MVP.
Community involvement has been really important to me since I was drafted,” Williams said, “and to be honored for it makes it that much more special.”
When Williams was selected by the Ravens in the 2013 NFL Draft, the defensive tackle was just eight months removed from a summer job of cleaning and hauling portable toilets. He brought a similar work ethic to his efforts off the field, frequently taking part in the charitable events of his Ravens teammates during his first two seasons in the league.
In 2015, Williams began to spearhead his own outreach efforts, including providing 118 Thanksgiving meals for families through the Maryland Food Bank. The fourth-year player will renew those efforts this November by serving as the official ambassador and spokesman for Maryland Food Bank’s #FeedTheFlock food collection efforts with the Ravens.
In working with his adopted family at the Westport Boys & Girls Club, Williams has helped organize everything from summer celebrations to a VIP training camp visit to a back-to-school event that saw 50 kids receive new supplies for the academic year.
“The path I took to get where I am today wasn’t easy,” Williams said, “and it has really inspired me to give back as much as I can, kind of like ‘to whom much is given, much is expected.’”
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