How did a bunch of canceled events lead to a 70,000-child movement?
In spring 2020, when 1,200 concerts and other live events were canceled, a huge challenge arose for Compassion — with no warning.
Before COVID-19 began, Compassion’s field offices had already begun registering new children into programs, like they do every year. But when the pandemic arrived and planned gatherings around the world were canceled, Compassion no longer had the platform to share the message of sponsorship with the massive groups of people who would attend these events.
As a result, 70,000 newly registered and vulnerable children no longer had an opportunity to connect with a sponsor. Compassion realized more than $30 million would need to be raised to help these children receive urgently needed food, medical care and other support.
What does “Fill the Stadium” mean?
The Fill the Stadium campaign is a beautiful example of the church’s response to those 70,000 vulnerable children left unsponsored.
Through conversations with partners at Pro Athletes Outreach, Compassion began to visualize a pro football stadium, which on average holds about 70,000 people, filled with support for unsponsored children. Dozens of pro athletes stepped up to inspire fans and donors across the world to stand in that gap and “fill” the stadium by donating funds in support of those children.
What are some recent highlights of the movement?
- Currently, more than 50,000 seats have been filled in support of 50,000 children and their families.
- Fill the Stadium developed a Lead Team of pro athletes, church and business leaders, and Compassion staff. The list of athletes includes Nate Solder and Nick Foles (American football), Alyssa Naeher and Elizabeth Eddy (soccer), Chris Davis and Adam Engel (baseball), Webb Simpson and Zach Johnson (golf), and dozens of other sports stars.
- In February, Compassion President and CEO Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado joined over 50 athletes, leaders and their family members to celebrate filling over 45,000 seats:
- Andy Stanley, founder and senior pastor of North Point Community Church, and Reggie Joiner, founder and CEO of Orange Leaders, joined Jimmy Mellado to highlight Fill the Stadium and encourage their communities to join the movement.
- Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) President Shane Williamson joined Jimmy Mellado to celebrate FCA’s partnership with Fill the Stadium. News of the partnership was sent to over 50,000 FCA staff, coaches and athlete leadership volunteers. Pro football player Case Keenum also lent his voice to the partnership.
Would you help us cross the finish line by donating to help children and their families? To learn more and donate, visit FillTheStadium.com and follow the movement on social media: