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New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley returned home on Thursday to attend the 51st annual McDonald’s Lehigh Valley All-Star Football Classic.
But Barkley didn’t just attend the game — he was an honorary captain and participated in the coin toss.
In April, Barkley announced a new charitable cause, the St. Luke’s Sports Rink/Saquon Barkley Center of Excellence which is located in his hometown of Whitehall, Pennsylvania.
The purpose of the endeavor is, “to partner with St. Luke’s University Health Network to provide sports, physical fitness and academic-related opportunities to children who may not be able to afford to join a gym or an athletic league.”
The center also houses a weight room. Barkley wants to show kids growing up in the same area he did that hard work really does pay off.
“It’s very important,” Barkley said. “There were people I looked up to as a kid and I had role models. I know the effect they had on me as a kid and I know there are kids in the community that look up to me. Coming back, showing them the love and putting a smile on their face, showing them that I’m from the same area of the Lehigh Valley, Whitehall, and I worked my butt off and I had a lot of help.”
It’s not a huge surprise that Barkley attended the Lehigh Valley All-Star Football Classic, and that his hometown showed their appreciation for his contribution to the area by naming him an honorary captain. All proceeds from the event are donated to the Ronald McDonald House Charities.