NORFOLK, Va. - Free agent and 14-year NFL veteran Antoine Bethea awaits a call from an NFL team looking for a safety, but off the field, the Newport News native is making calls of his own.
"I’m blessed to be able to play the game I love and able to afford me the opportunity to help people, so that’s what it’s all about for me," Bethea said.
The Bethea Family Foundation launched the Safe Cover initiative, with the goal of raising $100,000 for families facing home evictions due to COVID-19.
The idea came to the Denbigh High School product when he came across eviction stats. Eviction Lab's data shows that there are four Hampton Roads cities listed among the nation's top ten cities with the highest eviction rates. Bethea's hometown of Newport News is one of those cities and Bethea says that, growing up, he saw plenty around him go through home eviction.
"Going to school and hearing some of your peers having to through that, for some people it’s an embarrassing time but it’s life," Bethea said. "It’s life and that’s where people in the community can come together and help folks out."
There are eight days remaining in Bethea's 21-day rent relief fundraiser, which supports families in Newport News, Hampton and Norfolk.
"We can come together, unite and help people in our backyard, help people we see every day, help people we see in the grocery store," Bethea said. "If you can spare five dollars, if you can spare 10 dollars, you’ll be amazed at how far that can go for someone who’s going through some tough times during COVID-19."
Donations can be made at mysafecover.com where, while Bethea is away from defending on the gridiron, he defends those who need help in our community.