Working as teammates off the field, players in the Darien Junior Football League spent time Saturday helping collect food for those in need.

Two dozen sixth- and seventh-grade players helped collect and store food for Person-to-Person’s food pantry.

“Because of COVID many people have less food than before,” said Charlie Peters, 11, who worked with the first shift of five other teammates Saturday morning.

“There’s not a difference between us and them,” he said. “Everyone should get an equal amount and we should all have a meal.”

Encouraged by the organization’s involvement, dozens of residents came by with bags upon bags of grocery items—cereal, peanut butter, canned goods and more.

“This is awesome to have the team come out and support Person-to-Person,” said Patty Salgrado, Darien site manager.

“We’re seeing big support from the community,” she said, “and we really appreciate it.”

The players collected all the food items, profusely thanked every contributor, and toted the food over to the organization’s shed for temporary storage.

“Our goal is thousands of pounds,” said Doug Wilson, head coach and board member.

He said part of the league’s mission involves not only teaching the sport, but the tenets of teamwork and good citizenry.

“Volunteering allows them to realize they’re truly blessed to be in such a community and such a program,” he said, “and it teaches them to give back—especially now.”

While he said he hopes the kids may get back on the field soon, “there are a lot more important things that are happening in this day and age.”

“We think there are lessons learned that transcend the game of football,” said Kris Hopkins, board member and parent, “so we’ve excited to have the boys here to help out.”

“It’s kind of the consummate team sport,” he said, “and you’re not going to win, you’re not going to succeed, unless you’re all together as one.”

“Us kids have gotten so much from our community,” Charlie said. “Other people need help and we’re not the only ones who matter.”