Kim Banz, Kerrie Frazier work to feed Putnam City West football team after games
"I graduated from here in 1995," she said. "What was heartbreaking to me is that I had no idea. It's literally in our backyards, and we had no idea."
Churches and other groups have donated food to the team pantry that Jensen organized next to the equipment room.
Local restaurants All-American Pizza, Chik-fil-a and Texas Roadhouse have helped with postgame meals. Sometimes 15 or more volunteers show up to pass out food and fresh-baked desserts after games. But it's more than handing a kid some dinner.
They meet the players, learn their names, develop relationships with them. Some offer to drive kids home when they don't have a ride.
"They have a piece of my heart," Banz said. "I have three daughters, and I told my husband I feel like I have a couple of boys now, too."
Jensen has seen physical proof of the value the meals have provided in his players' nutrition this season. The team endured 19 broken bones last season, but heading into Thursday's home game against Sapulpa, there had been five this year.
"It's just awesome that a group of people who are not our parents and do not have kids at PC West are taking care of our kids," Jensen said. "That says a lot about who those people are. That's cool."
However, Banz and Frazier aren't seeking any credit but rather paying it upward.
"The Lord has provided the money and the people for this to be possible," Banz said. "The bottom line is these kids need to know they're valuable and they're loved. They're supported and we want to encourage them."
Frazier and Banz continue to gather funds — all of which go toward the food they provide — through a Facebook page entitled "Prayers for Patriots."
The regular season for football ends next week. The Pats will not go to the playoffs. But the desire to help won't end with the season.
"We just want to raise awareness for these kids," Frazier said. "We want them top know that their community has their back, and we do care about them.
"After the season's over, we don't know where it's going to go, but we want to continue to help this school."
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