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NFL Draft Week to leave a lasting impact on host community

NFL sponsorships will not only provide 140,000 meals to those in need, but will provide local students with experience.

CLEVELAND — The NFL Draft week has kicked off in Cleveland and events sponsored by the NFL are intended to make a lasting impact on the host city.

Hosting the draft in Cleveland brings lots of good things, tourism, monetary promises and more, but the opportunities sponsored by the NFL will stretch further than that. It’s going to put food on peoples’ tables and bringing experience along with it.

RELATED: NFL Draft 2021 in Cleveland: Ultimate Draft HQ

We’ve heard the phrase before: "Teamwork makes the dreamwork."

Locals are getting a lot of perks that are sure to make a last impact, all thanks to sponsorships. One pick hitting close to home is the fact that hundred of thousands of Northeast Ohioans who will have dinner on the table thanks to the NFL's generosity.

“We are fortunate enough to [have] received a $35,000 donation,” said Karen Ponza, Director of Communications and Events. “This donation will be able to provide over 140,000 meals to people in need, right here in Greater Cleveland."

According to Ponza, after nearly a year and a half of economic turmoil, the need for food hasn’t slowed down.

“Even though we’re starting to turn the corner with the pandemic, the need is going to be around,” Ponza said.

The food bank is still serving a record number of households, and with the NFL’s donation, the reach to families will stretch far beyond long drives down the field.

“For every dollar donated, that can help provide enough food for four nutritious meals,’ said Ponza. “We’ve been averaging between 2,000 and 2,500 households each week."

Sponsorships by the NFL will bring experience, too. Local students within the Cleveland Metro School District were picked to shine on stage opening night and will perform a special rendition of the inspiring song, “Life Every Voice and Sing.”

Sunday morning, students from Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School led the way in making sure the city is clean. The students even used boats to ensure Lake Erie's water is free of debris.

“This is a brand-new program,” said Jessica Kerr,North Coast Harbor Project Manager. “Because of the NFL draft, we decided this is the perfect opportunity to bring the students out and get them acclimated to cleaning the debris out of Lake Erie for us.”

The Greater Cleveland Food Bank will host a food drive at the Municipal Lot in Downtown Cleveland Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

For details on how to volunteer or if you’re in need, click here.

The NFL Draft will kick off Thursday, April 29. For a guide of events to take place, click here.

*Editor's Note: The video in the player above originally aired on April 24, 2021.