The New England Patriots are surely disappointed about their last-minute and unexpected defeat Sunday, but around the world poor children will benefit from the Patriots' loss as they sport their never-to-be-sold championship apparel.
International Christian agency World Vision and the National Football League are continuing their long partnership to provide the losing team's pre-prepared memorabilia to needy families around the world. This year, children in Nicaragua, Romania, and several other countries will be the recipients of the donation.
"The NFL and its partners entrust these goods to World Vision because our distribution system and long-term presence in impoverished communities make us a reliable bridge to those in greatest need," said Richard Stearns, president of World Vision, in a statement.
Stearns noted that the donation is beneficial in many ways including being tax-deductible and eco-friendly.
"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," Stearns added.
Since 1994, World Vision has partnered with the NFL to accept hundreds of official shirts and caps immediately following the sport's biggest event. Instead of being destroyed, the losing team's shirts and caps are shipped from the Super Bowl host city to World Vision's Gifts-in-Kind Distribution Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.
In Pittsburgh, the apparel are sorted and shipped to various countries. Once the shipments pass customs in their destination countries, World Vision workers distribute the items to needy children and families, many of whom have never owned new clothing in their lives.
"World Vision helps us to ensure that no NFL apparel goes to waste," said David Krichavsky, NFL director of community relations, in a statement. "We are pleased to find a good home for clothing by getting it to those who need it most."
In addition to Super Bowl gear, World Vision receives and distributes playoff contender apparel from retailers and manufacturers that is unsalable in the United States. The items include shirts, hats, sweatshirts and other clothing of teams that advance but are eliminated in the playoffs.
In 2007, the combined value of goods donated by Reebok, Dick's Sporting Goods and the Sports Authority was about $2.5 million.
Last year, the NFL donated Super Bowl gear from the Chicago Bears which was distributed in Zambia, Chad, Chile, Bolivia, Democratic Republic of Congo, El Salvador, Romania and Zimbabwe.
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization working with children, families and their communities in 100 countries with the aim of tackling causes of poverty and injustice.