On December 4, Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley made a surprise stop at Worthington Elementary School in Inglewood, CA, where he hosted a childhood literacy initiative in partnership with Pizza Hut, a new sponsor of the NFL. The restaurant chain is collaborating with nonprofit organization First Book to fulfill the company’s longtime charitable goal of providing equal access to quality education for children in need.
"In our first year as the official pizza sponsor of the NFL, we have a powerful opportunity to work with the league, its teams and players to do even more to support childhood literacy — a cause Pizza Hut has championed for more than three decades," Pizza Hut’s U.S. Chief Brand Officer Marianne Radley stated.
During the school visit, Gurley distributed copies of "The Magician's Hat," written by Malcolm Mitchell, NFL free agent wide receiver and Gurley’s former University of Georgia teammate. He also gave students the opportunity to see an inspiring individual who, in addition to football, has found his path to success through literacy.
"Growing up, I was taught that reading and writing were the foundation for my education," Gurley stated. "Knowing the importance of literacy programs for kids across the country, I'm teaming up with First Book and fellow Georgia alumni and Super Bowl champion Malcolm Mitchell, author of 'The Magician’s Hat', for My Cause My Cleats."
When the LA Rams hosted the Philadelphia Eagles on December 16 at the Coliseum during Sunday Night Football, the Pro Bowler wore custom-designed Nike cleats featuring "The Magician's Hat" to emphasize the importance of reading and to promote the NFL's My Cause My Cleats campaign.
Pizza Hut’s efforts are part of its new initiative, The Literacy Project, established by the company’s BOOK IT! Program founded in 1984 to increase access to reading among children. With a goal of helping 100 million children and families across the nation improve their literacy within 10 years, Pizza Hut will annually donate funds to First Book and partner with brands like the NFL to support the initiative further.
Pizza Hut has also partnered with Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett to make childhood literacy a top priority for students in Seattle. Like Gurley, Lockett made a surprise school visit recently, and he and the Seahawks plan to host a special reading event at the end of December to inspire young readers in the local community.
From now until December 31, Pizza Hut is offering the First Book Bundle, a limited-edition deal that allows customers to contribute a $1 donation to First Book to support childhood literacy when they order the Pizza Hut combo, which includes two large three-topping pizzas and breadsticks.