Another season is in the books for Washington, and they are once again looking for ways to improve the team after not making the playoffs. This offseason is different due to the team finally announcing their rebranding, which includes a new name, logo, uniforms, and more. This article won’t be focusing on any of the negative discussions that have dominated the news cycle, and this site. We will be focusing on the positive work that several Washington players, and a special group of fans have been doing to benefit children and families in the area.
Chase Roullier and Sarah Roullier
Two Washington offensive linemen have recently signed long-term deals to stay with the team, and they took different paths to get here. Chase Roullier was drafted in the sixth round of the 2017 draft out of Wyoming. He was a starter in his rookie season for seven games, but earned the full-time starter job after that. He has been a staple on offense, and calls the plays making him invaluable to the team. He signed a 4-year, $40.5 million extension in January last year, and has committed to giving back to the community since he’s been here.
The Hogfarmers will be discussed more later in this article, but this is one of the charities that Roullier and his wife have worked with to change lives. They were the charity he chose for his My Cause My Cleats the last two years. He recently partnered with the Lenos (Charles and Jennifer) and the Hogfarmers to go shopping for MedStar Hospital and Toys for Tots. $6,000 worth of toys were purchased and delivered!
Charles Leno, Jennifer Leno, and Beyond the Entertainer
Charles Leno is the other offensive lineman I wanted to feature today. He was surprisingly released by the Chicago Bears last May, and Washington quickly jumped at the chance to sign the veteran starter to a one-year deal. Leno went on to start 17 games this season, and did enough to earn a three-year, $37.5 million contract extension to continue as the team’s left tackle.
Before Leno arrived in Washington, he was doing some really great things in the Chicago community, and he wanted to continue his work here. He started Leno Claus two years ago with his wife Jennifer and through his Beyond the Entertainer charity.
After successfully kicking off Beyond the Entertainer in 2020 with Leno Claus, we will be bringing back the fantastic event again, but we need your help! Our founders Charles & Jennifer created Leno Claus in 2020 after having their first child & watching all of the previews for the 25-day countdown to Christmas. They decided they wanted to have their own countdown to Christmas & created Leno Claus. From December 1st – December 20th, Beyond the Entertainer partnered with 20 different organizations donating holiday gifts, stocking stores, giving away items, making monetary donations, etc. Beyond the Entertainer allowed fans worldwide to nominate friends and family who needed a little holiday cheer for the last five days. Five individuals/families were chosen, and each was granted some sort of holiday cheer. With the holidays quickly approaching, we need your help! Fill out the forms below to either 1) nominate a nonprofit in need or 2) nominate an individual/family to send some holiday cheer to!
Leno’s charitable work was also recognized when he was named the NFLPA’s Community MVP at the end of December. This was the second year in a row he has been recognized for Leno Claus, and the good deeds he makes happen in multiple communities.
Got to admit this years draw up is pretty awesome. A big thanks for the #communitymvp award @NFLPA . Also a big thank you goes out to the Washington area, Chicagoland area, & Oakland area for making #LenoClaus possible. Follow @Beyondthe72 to see the things we’ll be doing in 2022 pic.twitter.com/bt5K4eLXdk— Charles Leno Jr (@charleslenojr72) December 31, 2021
“Being chosen back-to-back years as an NFLPA Community MVP means the world to me,” Leno said in a statement. “Through Beyond the Entertainer, an organization that my wife and I created, we strive to show that there is more to the entertainer — and in my case, the athlete — than what meets the eye. By joining forces with community organizations throughout the D.C., Chicago and Oakland areas, we can pay it forward and shed light on the amazing organizations and services that they offer.”
Now I want to once again shine the spotlight on a group of super fans who have come together to make a charity that has grown over the years. As previously noted, they have worked with Jonathan Allen, Charles Leno, and Chase Roullier recently to bring joy, toys, support, and money to local children and their families affected by pediatric cancer over the years.
I spoke with Hogfarmer Joe Hall recently, and he was gracious enough to send me some info on their growth, and what they’re currently working on.
Things have grown quite a bit over the last couple years. We have grown from helping about 35 families to currently at 143 total families supported. Often times people are not sure what “supported” means so I’ll go through what every family receives when they join the Hogfarmer family and some of the things we offer once they have been vetted. Initially each family will receive a branded Hogfarmer care package which includes the following items:
1. Treatment T-shirt (has side snaps down the side for port access). We have learned that children can be self conscious about removing their shirts due to scarring or just being uncomfortable, this shirt allows their ports to be accessed without the need to remove your shirt.
2. A Hogfarmer beanie. As you know, cancer treatment causes hair loss so this is another item to help kids feel comfortable and to keep their heads warm.
3. A Hofgfarmer stuffed piggy.
4. $300 in assorted gift cards. These are tailored to the family’s needs or desire. Gift cards can be for gas, food or groceries
5. $50 gift for the child
6. A printed letter from us, just letting them know they have a group of people that they do not know that is thinking about them
After families receive a care package we stay in contact with them and help them any way we can, ranging from paying rent, paying bills, morale visits or trips, paying for travel, granting wishes or just trying to get them to games to take their mind off their situation. Some of the highlights over the last couple years are:
1. Sending a terminal child and his family to Disney as a last wish
2. Sending a child and his family on a last wish adventure that included multiple theme parks and NASA
3. Hosting 6 families to Washington Football games
4. Partnering with Jennifer and Charles Leno’s Charity Beyond the Entertainer to put on a birthday party at FedEx Field for a young cancer survivor who was being bullied and then his family watched the game from the Leno family and Allen family suite. Jon Allen and Charles Leno met with the family afterwards
5. Partnered with the Lenos (Charles and Jennifer) and Roullier family (Sarah and Chase) to go shopping for MedStar Hospital and Toys for Tots. We purchased and delivered $6,000 worth of toys.
6. Donated a gaming cart to UVA Children’s Hospital ($2,500 cart)
7. Hogfamer Newsletter spearheaded by Jess Koller (@eals4birds on Twitter)
We have been supported by Chase Roullier and his wife Sarah for a couple years and he has highlighted our cause with the NFL’s My Cause My Cleats campaign the last two years. This past season we connected with Jenifer and Charles Leno and he also highlighted our cause with My Cause My Cleats.
We had some successful fundraisers to include:
1. 3rd Annual “Be Like Bob” Memorial Golf Tournament in Suffolk Virginia. This event memorializes Bob Early Sr., who was big in the local community helping handicapped children play sports. This even raised over $20,000 for the Hogfarmers
2. Multiple raffles raising over $15,000 combined
3. Toy for tots drive that raised over $6,000
4. Daily donations
Combined we raised about $72,000 last year and we gave it all to families affected by pediatric cancer.
That’s pretty amazing stuff from a group that does this all in their free time, and don’t take a salary for running the charity. Joe also emphasized to me that they are not sponsored by the Washington Charitable Organization or franchise. They also make the connections with players on their own, and work with players who are passionate about helping in the community. This charity is run by fans, and heavily supported by fans.
They have also a monthly grant program for Hogfarmers families that just started this month!
We are adding a new way to support current Hogfarmer families, monthly grants! Each month starting in February we will give out up to 1k for HF family. This would not be possible without the amazing support from our donors. Thank you for making a huge difference. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/jVWcezYG9F— Hogfarmers (@TheHogfarmers) January 28, 2022
In the last charity article we published, I talked about my own experience with my son’s moyamoya diagnosis, and the surgery that allows him to live a mostly normal life. The work this group does with sick children helps families in tough situations. I have donated and I’d encourage anyone that can to give what they can.