FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – September heralds a time for new beginnings.
Welcoming a new school year as well as a new season, excitement fills the air as children and parents embrace the prospect of new possibilities – new friends, new teachers, and new subjects to learn.
In anticipation of their new adventure, families gear up for the momentous occasion, hitting the stores to stock up on the essential apparel and accessories: classroom supplies, clothing and meals.
But sadly, not everyone has the opportunity to take part in the Back to School shopping tradition – many families in the Boston community struggle to make ends meet, and are unable to fully equip their children for the new term.
To lend a hand to those in need, former New England Revolution (and current Nashville SC) player Teal Bunbury and his wife launched the Teal Bunbury Foundation, leading the ‘Back to School with the Revs’ initiative and raising money for local families to purchase much-needed stationery, clothing and food ahead of the new school year.
With the initiative now celebrating its fifth year, the outreach has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Boston community. Upon his departure from the club, Bunbury passed the torch to current Revs star DeJuan Jones, and the drive continues to positively impact the lives of local people. Last year, a total of $15,000 was raised in Target gift cards for 50 families, making a real difference to those who needed it most.
A year on, Jones and his New England teammates are hoping to mark the milestone anniversary of ‘Back to School with the Revs’ with its biggest fundraiser to date – and the defender has called upon the Revolution family to pull together and donate whatever they can to aid a good cause.
“We’re really excited to do it again,” he said. “Five years ago, we decided to do a Back to School drive with our Bible Study group, and it’s been really great to see the growth over the years – each year, we've raised more money, so we’re really looking forward to continuing that tradition this year.
“We’re raising money for Boston families in need of a helping hand. It’s the time of the year where we want to make sure everyone has school supplies.
“This is our fifth year now, and the first year we will actually be able to shop with the families together in Target [due to the COVID-19 pandemic]. We’re looking forward to seeing the joy on their faces. At Target, they can also get clothes and food they need, as well – it’s a place where they can get everything.
“To see these families coming out, getting a good word and being able to benefit is amazing. You find out some of the things people are dealing with, some of the struggles they have, and how thankful they are to get this blessing.”
As a professional soccer player and USMNT international, Jones is proud to be able to use his platform to aid positive change, especially for a cause close to his heart.
Striving to inspire people of all backgrounds to achieve their dreams, he hopes the help provided by the ‘Back to School with the Revs’ initiative paves a stepping stone for local people to thrive.
“We have a platform right now as athletes, and I think it’s a good opportunity for us to also share our faith when we give families the gift cards,” he added. “I also majored in Elementary Education, so I’ve always had a special interest in education and school.
“I try to help these kids, and give them an inspiring message about working hard in school – making sure they have a plan, a route they can take to be successful – so making sure they’re able to do the best they can in the classroom is really important.
“Talking to the families, hearing some of their stories, is so inspiring and you can tell we’re making a real difference. We’ve had some really big donations, which really help, and prayers help, as well.
“This year, we’re trying to raise $15,000 again, so if we could do that, it would be great. It doesn’t matter how much you pledge – every single dollar counts – and it’s all going towards these families, so we’re really excited about that.”
To pledge your support to the ‘Back to School with the Revs’ initiative, please donate HERE with 100 percent of your donation going towards the support of these underprivileged families.