On Monday, approximately 10,000 pounds of food arrived at the Cathedral Home for Children warehouse, to be shared equally between the home and the University of Wyoming Food Share Pantry.

These two entities were chosen because of the connection of each and Mel Hamilton, who attended UW and his love, care and concern for community. Hamilton is a member, of The Black 14 Philanthropy and said the abovementioned organizations were selected based on area needs.

“The Black 14 got together and decided to choose these cities because they know the severe need in these cities,” he said in a statement.

This all came about because slightly more than 50 years ago in 1969, 14 Black athletes with the UW football team were thrown off the team because they requested to wear black armbands as a protest against the Brigham Young University team who last year uttered racial epithets throughout the game.

These players ultimately formed a philanthropic organization known as Black 14 and collaborated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). Given the circumstances, to many it may seem a strange alliance, but not to Hamilton.

“When you go through something like that, a lot of people get hurt. A lot of organizations get hurt. I must do everything I can to plaster all the cracks made in the walls of that relationship. All it was, was a rift. Not a hate,” said Hamilton. “My mom said, ‘God will tell you what to do. All you have to do is listen.’ So, I’m listening.”

“I want people to understand the loving relationship that The Black 14 and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are trying to initiate. I want people to realize that we’re working together, and will continue to work together, to strengthen the love between people — even people with differences,” said Hamilton.

Delivery dayOn hand to help with the distribution once all the pallets were unloaded were an estimated 30 to 40 UW students; at least half were also LDS members.

They went hard to work unwrapping the pallets and dividing the boxes of food that were to be shared equally following greetings and statement from several, beginning with Rachel LeBeau, the development director with Cathedral House, who welcomed everyone present and introduced Emily Monago, chief diversity officer with UW. She read a letter from John Griffin, another member of The Black 14, who was not present due to COVID-19 concerns.

“John and other members of The Black 14 hope that this delivery of food will be helpful to those in need,” ready Monago, who continued to read that on behalf of the University Wyoming Black, in partnership with the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints, wanted to make sure the food donated arrived in time for Thanksgiving and the holidays. She closed with Griffin’s well wishes. “Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving and Holidays.”

Just before explaining how the distribution was to be conducted, Dean of Students and Associate Vice President of Student Affairs with the Dean of Student Office Ryan McGarry Dinneen O’Neil expounded upon the impact food insecurity has among people, even among UW students, and she thanked those present.

“This is a massive donation,” she said. “We are really thrilled to see how many volunteered. Thanks so much, everyone.”

About the two organizationsThe Black 14 Philanthropy is a 501©(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to educate the next generation of underserved communities to social justice change. Founding members were part of the 1969 University of Wyoming football team.

Latter-day Saint Charities is the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sponsoring relief and development projects in 195 countries and territories and gives assistance without regard to race, religious affiliation, or nationality. Latter-day Saint Charities follows the admonition of Jesus Christ to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, take in the stranger, clothe the naked and visit the sick and afflicted.

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