INDIANAPOLIS – As the Colts prepare for an important AFC matchup on Sunday Night Football against the San Diego Chargers, they are asking their fans to help them reach an important milestone for Indiana's foster youth. At the game, the Colts, Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) and Cargo Services will be hosting a pre-game book drive for their "Books for Youth" program in hopes of reaching the program goal of half a million books by halftime.
Colts fans are invited to join this effort by donating new or gently used books before they head into the stadium on Sunday. Beginning at 6 p.m., volunteers will be collecting books at the Community Collection Stations, presented by Toyota, located outside each Lucas Oil Stadium Gate. Each fan who donates will receive a special edition Colts bookmark, compliments of Cargo Services. Cash donations will also be accepted.
The "Books for Youth" program was launched in 2006 through a partnership between the Indianapolis Colts and DCS. The initiative was born after Steve Pemberton, a former foster child and now the Executive Vice President of Diversity at Monster.com, shared his story of personal triumph over situational tragedy and credits a gift from a stranger – a box of books - as the motivation for him to overcome challenges and provide hope for his future. After hearing this story, James Payne, then Juvenile Court Judge and now Director of the Indiana Department of Child Services, made a commitment – a commitment that every foster child in the State of Indiana would receive this same gift.
Through the support of the Indianapolis Colts and Cargo Services, DCS has collected more than 450,000 books and has distributed more than 2,000 backpacks filled with 25 age-appropriate books to Indiana Foster Youth. With the help of donations from Sunday's collection, the Colts, DCS and Cargo Services are hoping to reach 500,000 books.
Individuals attending Sunday's game can also support Books for Youth by purchasing a special edition Colts "BLUE" backpack at the Colts Pro Shop or online at www.coltsproshop.com. For each backpack that's purchased, the Colts will donate one filled with books to an Indiana Foster Youth. Visit www.colts.com/booksforyouth to learn more about the "Books for Youth" program.
ADDITIONAL GAMEDAY NOTES
At Sunday's game, the Indianapolis Colts are also joining the NFL's national Thanksgiving celebration of the PLAY 60 campaign by recognizing several youth and families who have made a commitment to living active, healthy lives as a part of the NFL PLAY 60 campaign.
During a pre-game ceremony, ten youth from the Indiana Dairy Council's Fuel Up to PLAY 60* program and the winning participants of the **Colts PLAY 60 Challenge will be recognized on the field. All participants will also have the opportunity to welcome the players as they run out of the tunnel during introductions prior to kickoff.
In addition to the on-field recognition, volunteers from Action for Healthy Kids will be distributing free PLAY 60 rally towels in the American Family Fan Zone from 5:15-7:45 p.m. (while supplies last). Fans can also pick up a free PLAY 60 wristbands inside the Clarian Southeast Corner at Sunday's game (while supplies last).
The PLAY 60 campaign is part of a continued effort by the NFL and its 32 teams to confront the issue of childhood obesity that threatens our nation. During the Thanksgiving games and Week 12 of the regular season, the NFL has developed an awareness campaign designed to promote the PLAY 60 platform and encourage youth and families across the nation to be active at least 60 minutes each day. League-wide PLAY 60 elements during the Week 12 games will include on-field PLAY 60 stencils, goal post wraps, gameday program ads and banners.