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Brandon Williams Kicks Off Ravens Food Drive


Despite his now 335-pound frame, Ravens defensive tackle Brandon Williams knows a thing or two about being hungry.

So it was only natural that Williams stepped up to the plate to kick off this year's Ravens food drive, which has been taken to another level.

"It's near and dear to me because I know how it feels to be that kid in high school who comes home after a long day at school or practice, and open the fridge and there be nothing," Williams said Wednesday.

In 2003, Williams' freshman year of high school, his family had to pack up its belongings into his mom, Shelly Williams', Pontiac Bonneville. They were officially homeless, bouncing around between staying with Shelly's parents, sister and cousin.

Brandon, who was going through a major growth spurt at the time, sometimes stayed with football teammates' families. They would let him spend the night and feed him until his mom had enough money to pay the bills and buy groceries.

Williams doesn't have to worry about his next meal anymore, but he's looking out for those who do have such concerns.

There's no competition when it comes to who can eat more food, but Ravens players and staff members will compete when it comes to feeding others.

For the past 20 years of the franchise's existence, the Ravens have helped feed those in need through the Family Food & Funds Drive. To celebrate the anniversary, the team is launching a Ravens players vs. Ravens staff food collection challenge and raising the stakes on their donation goals.

From today until Friday, Nov. 13, the team will be collecting non-perishable and monetary donations at the Under Armour Performance Center. The staff has its own box in the main lobby. The players have a box in their own lobby.

The Ravens will also hold their annual food drive at M&T Bank Stadium. Organizers will accept monetary and food donations at all gates before Sunday's 1 p.m. game against the Chargers. The goal is to raise more than 20,000 pounds of food for the team's 20th anniversary.

Fans not going to the game can still donate, too.

Fans can make donations at the more than 50 Baltimore-area Giant Food stores from now until Nov. 16. Fans are encouraged to purchase on-site, pre-packaged boxes for only $10, which include the MFB's most-needed food items. The Ravens have also setup an online drive through YouGiveGoods.

In order to help spread the word, the Ravens are launching a #FeedTheFlock campaign through social media. Fans are encouraged to use #FeedTheFlock for a chance to win prizes, including a tour of the Under Amour Performance Center.

In Maryland, more than 750,000 people don't know where their next meal may come from, or have a shortage of food. Nearly half of that amount (more than 320,000 people, including 99,000 children) live in Baltimore City and Baltimore, Howard and Anne Arundel counties alone.

"Anything helps for those people hurting way worse than we are," Williams said. "A can, two cans, a few dollars, just anything. Just reach out in your hearts, and wallets, to give anything you can."

A Ravens staff member joked that Williams would track down random season-ticket holders who didn't contribute.

"Tackle them and hold them down – until the whistle blows," Williams joked, referencing Chris Johnson's 62-yard run on Monday Night Football. "For real."

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