INDIANAPOLIS – Earlier this month, Colts SS Antoine Bethea hosted a clothing drive amongst his teammates to benefit Wheeler Mission's Clothing Bank. While Bethea was unable to distribute the clothing personally, he invited several teammates to join him at Wheeler Mission's Shelter for Men on Monday, December 10, 2012, to serve hot meals to approximately 200 homeless men. With the help of LIDS Sports Group, Bethea and fellow players also distributed Colts hats to help keep the men warm in the winter weather.
Colts players CB Darius Butler, ILB Jerrell Freeman, S Joe Lefeged, DT Drake Nevis, CB Jerraud Powers, and CB Cassius Vaughn, armed themselves with dinner trays while waiting for the men to raise their tickets to indicate they were ready to be served. WR Reggie Wayne performed double-duty as he served meals and water. The men, who lined up around the building to receive dinner, had no idea they would be served by Colts players that evening and were pleasantly surprised to see the players had chosen to spend time with them.
Bethea spoke briefly to the men to encourage them to keep a positive mindset and rely on faith to help overcome their challenges. Upon completing their meals and exiting the shelter, Bethea and Powers took turns distributing a hat to each person, courtesy of LIDS and the Colts.
This visit was inspired by a clothing drive headed by Bethea. At the beginning of the season, Bethea set his sights on conducting a clothing drive that could benefit individuals in need. He activated his teammates and their families to do a 'clean sweep' of their closets by pulling out gently used clothing and shoes that they out grew or no longer needed. This resulted in hundreds of men's, women's and children's clothing being collected.
The men's clothing was donated to The Clothing Room at Wheeler's downtown shelter for men, which provides clothing free of charge to any homeless man who visits the shelter. The Julian Center, which provides shelter for women and children who have escaped domestic violence and are rebuilding independence, received the women's and children's clothing.
On Tuesday, Bethea returned to Wheeler Mission for the "Our Hearts to Your Soles" distribution, presented by Methodist Sports Medicine. More than 100 homeless men received free shoes, socks and foot screenings.
A pro at giving back, Bethea has continued to make an impact on the lives of others through his participation in Colts Community Tuesdays, United Way's TEAM NFL program and leading his Safe Coverage Foundation, which provides access and resources for students to achieve their dreams of earning higher education. To learn more about Safe Coverage Foundation, please visit www.antoinebethea.com/safe-coverage-foundation.