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Robbie Gould’s new charity raising funds for food bank

Chicago Bears kicker Robbie Gould (9) kicks off against Indianapolis Colts during first half an NFL football game Chicago Sunday

Chicago Bears kicker Robbie Gould (9) kicks off against the Indianapolis Colts during the first half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Sitthixay Ditthavong)

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To donate to the virtual food drive, visit

For more information about the Northern Illinois Food Bank, visit or call 630-443-6190

For more information about The Goulden Touch Charity, visit

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Updated: October 20, 2012 6:07AM

Professional athletes don’t have to start their own charities. But for Robbie Gould, the kicker for the Chicago Bears, starting one was an obvious segue to what he plans to do after playing professional football.

“I have always been involved in charity work,” Gould said, “but I was tired of doing work under the umbrella of others. This was my opportunity to start a charity to become my legacy after football.”

The Goulden Touch was created eight months ago and focuses on four pillars: education, medical services, overall wellness and youth.

This month, Goulden Touch partnered with Humana to focus on Kicking Hunger in conjunction with the Northern Illinois Food Bank. And that focus takes on meaning for most people who don’t realize that even in DuPage County one in five children go hungry.

“Overall DuPage and Kane counties are pretty affluent, but there’s what I call a thin veneer,” said Pete Schaefer, CEO of the Northern Illinois Food Bank. “You scratch that veneer and see your neighbors in Naperville are hurting.”

The goal of this food drive is to help provide weekend meal backpacks for kids in schools. Each backpack, filled weekly, gives children three meals for them and two for a sibling. About 1,200 children in 13 counties receive food each weekend. The backpacks are provided by the Northern Illinois Food Bank and aren’t identified in any way as food support.

Items included in the backpacks include cereal, whole grain pastas and other foods that are shelf stable.

“We’ve had positive feedback from the kids,” Schaefer said about the kids who receive the backpacks. “They know their family is hurting, and this is a way they feel like they are helping the family. It’s the opposite of what one might expect.”

However, he is quick to point out that going to a food pantry the first time is difficult for anyone. After that first trip, of seeing how much care is put into helping others, he said it gets a little easier.

Gould’s role in the food drive, which partners Humana with Edward Hospital in Naperville, Rockford Health System, DuPage Medical Group and Indian Prairie School District 204, is to be a motivator. He will make appearances at all three high schools in District 204.

“My role is to energize the kids,” Gould said.

For Humana, it’s about encouraging wellness.

“Our dream is lifelong health,” said Dave Reynolds, president of Humana’s Illinois commercial market.

It was because of Jen Streder, a member of Goulden Touch’s board, Humana’s director of account management and a Naperville resident, that the organizations came together for Kicking Hunger.

“It’s a great opportunity to help raise awareness and activate younger people,” Gould said. “I always knew (a problem) existed but not to what extent. One in five is a big number, and this is a unique opportunity to get involved.

“It will take the community to back it for it to be successful.”

Of the kids who receive the backpacks, Schaefer said, “We can’t lose this generation,”

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