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Today's Take: Packers touchdowns yield $16,500 for Christmas hams

Dec. 11, 2013
 
Packers' Franklin, Sargento make Paul's Pantry don...
Packers' Franklin, Sargento make Paul's Pantry don...: Green Bay Packers running back Johnathan Franklin was on hand to deliver a $16,500 donation to Paul's Pantry through the Touchdowns for Charity program, a joint effort of the Packers and Sargento. (Dec. 10, 2013)
Green Bay Packers running back Johnathan Franklin signs autographs for volunteers and staff at Paul's Pantry, as part of the news conference celebrating the Packers and Sargento's 11th season of 'Touchdowns for Charity', Tuesday, December 10, 2013. H. Marc Larson/Press-Gazette Media

“I believe in Santa Claus” is written on a white Christmas stocking tied to one of the metal ceiling trusses inside Paul’s Pantry in Green Bay.

The food pantry was the recipient of a $16,500 donation Tuesday from Plymouth-based cheese maker Sargento and the Green Bay Packers. Through the Touchdowns for Charity program, Sargento donates $500 to Paul’s Pantry for each Packer touchdown during the regular season.

Packer running back Jonathan Franklin scored one of those touchdowns, and helped pass the check to the Pantry Tuesday.

“It’s always a blessing when you’re able to give back to people who don’t have has much as you have, ” the Los Angeles native said after signing autographs for patrons and staff at Paul’s Pantry. “Outside of football, that’s what I’m very passionate about, giving back.”

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This is the eleventh year the Packers and Sargento have teamed up to raise money for Paul’s Pantry in Green Bay and the Hunger Task Force in Milwaukee County.

Pantry director Craig Robbins said the donation will be used to buy hams for between 1,400 and 1,500 households this holiday season.

“Every time (the Packers) get in the red zone, we’re hoping they score a touchdown,” he said. “We don’t like to see the field goal unit come on the field. But thank God they’re doing this for us.”

Lou Gentine, chairman of the board at Sargento, said the program is part of the company’s commitment to give back to Wisconsin communities and residents.

“Paul’s Pantry is a super example of a pantry that provides a lot of choices for people in need, and they provide, and people respond to, the opportunity to work here,” he said. “That makes this very, very special.”

Sargento is the officials cheese of the Packers.

The touchdown program continues generating donations into the playoffs.

“This is an opportunity to give back to the community,” Gentine said. “We’re hoping the Packers can score a lot more touchdowns in their final six or seven games of the year.”

The team has three regular season games left and is clinging to a shot at making the playoffs.

In conjunction with Touchdowns for Charity, a Nov. 10 food drive at Lambeau Field collected 300 pounds of nonperishable food and $775 in donations.

“At the end of the day, we’re all a family, this whole Green Bay community and I’m happy to play a part in it,” Franklin said.

nphelps@pressgazettemedia.com and follow him on Twitter@nathanphelpsPG or on Facebook at Nathan Phelps (Press-Gazette)

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