Ericka Lassiter sees it as a responsibility that she and the fellow members of her organization, Off the Field, Players Wives Association — for the wives of NFL players, use their resources to help those in need. She is currently president of Off the Field and this year the organization has raised thousands of dollars for local and national charitable organizations.
Most recently, Off the Field was presented with a check for $8,500 from Dream Dinners, a local business that specializes in packing pre-made meals. Last fall, Lassiter and the organization partnered with Dream Dinners, which is national and has several locations in Phoenix, including one in Ahwatukee Foothills, and came up with an idea for a sandwich that was sold at Dream Dinners locations nationwide.
From those sales, $1 of every sandwich sold was donated to Off the Field, amounting to the $8,500, which was presented to the organization in a ceremony on March 29.
“The sales did much better than I expected,” Lassiter said. “It will be split amongst several worthy charities.”
Among those is one in particular that hits home for Lassiter. Her son, who is 11, has had sickle cell anemia since birth. Some of the money raised will go toward Kwame’s Quest, a local part of the Quest to Cure Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation.
“It is very painful for children, and adults as well,” she said. “(Kwame’s Quest) will be receiving a portion of the proceeds which goes toward programs that helps patients with self esteem, and gives them life skills. It helps them keep their mind off the pain.”
The first event involving both Dream Dinners and Off the Field took place at the 2010 Super Bowl in Dallas. The event pitted wives of NFC players against the wives of AFC players in a competition that benefitted the Ronald McDonald House in Dallas.
The two groups competed to see who could pack the most amount of dinners, which was provided by Dream Dinners, and at the end, all of it was given to the Ronald McDonald House.
Lassiter said the organization does several other charity events throughout the year. In December, they sponsor a family and use an $800 Sam’s Club gift card to bring Christmas to a local family who is struggling financially.
They also involve Dream Dinners and pack their food for Singleton Mom’s, an organization that helps out single parents who are battling cancer. It is an organization based out of and helps families in Maricopa County.
Lassiter attributes her constant push to help others due to her upbringing, which she says she will pass on to her own children and those affected by the charitable work of Off the Field.
“There is responsibility and desire — you have to want to give back,” she said. “I have seen it all my life and I have had the heart from my youth until now. And now, when you are in the position, to give time or donation, there is the responsibility to help others. You must give back to help others if you can.”
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