Arizona Cardinals are Super Bowl winners in El Salvador

In what some people are calling the best Super Bowl ever played, the last-second comeback by the Pittsburgh Steelers will be fondly remembered by children and families in El Salvador. Thousands of residents in the Central American country are currently expecting to get a large shipment of Arizona Cardinals gear, thanks to Federal Way’s World Vision.

Through a partnership with the NFL, World Vision will distribute the Cardinals pre-printed shirts, hats, and towels to people living in extreme poverty in El Salvador.

This is the 17th year the NFL and World Vision have teamed up.

Prior to championship games, Reebok produces two versions of shirts and hats, announcing each team as the winner. These items are kept on hand for the victorious players to wear immediately following the game. Since 1992, World Vision has accepted thousands of unusable shirts and caps following professional football’s biggest event. Additionally, major sporting-goods retailers and manufacturers donate large quantities of official apparel that they have stocked in anticipation of either team winning the Super Bowl.

Instead of being destroyed after the Super Bowl, the losing team items are shipped from the host city to World Vision’s international distribution center in Pittsburgh. There, they are sorted and added to shipments of other goods requested by World Vision field staff in various countries.

In the destination countries, World Vision workers distribute the apparel to children and families in need who, in many cases, have never worn new clothing in their lives.

“World Vision helps us to ensure that no NFL apparel goes to waste,” said David Krichavsky, director of community relations for the NFL. “We are pleased to find a good home for the clothing by getting it to those who need it most.”

Rich Stearns, president of World Vision U.S., likewise recognizes the benefits of the partnership: “We offer a tax-deductible, eco-friendly business solution that brings joy to children and families. And due to the number of countries in which we work and how we can spread out the donations, these quantities are not enough to disrupt or undermine local economies.”

After last year’s memorable Super Bowl in which the New England Patriots lost their first and only game of the season, shirts and hats declaring them undefeated champions were given to schoolchildren in Nicaragua. Patriots’ apparel was also provided to children in Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe.

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