North Charleston native and NFL star Carlos Dunlap is giving back to his hometown in a big way by assisting the Lowcountry Food Bank during the coronavirus pandemic.
Through a monetary donation, the Carlos Dunlap Foundation is sponsoring a drive-thru food distribution event. It will take place at 9 a.m. on Monday at Mount Moriah Baptist Church on Rivers Avenue.
Dunlap, who plays for the Cincinnati Bengals and graduated from Fort Dorchester High School, will be on site visiting with food bank officials and residents when they drive up.
He also is providing masks and sanitizers during the event via a partnership with ProKel Mobility Transportation Services. The partnership is assisting the North Charleston community as well as Cincinnati.
"My mom has always instilled in me, 'You have been blessed to be a blessing,'" Dunlap said. "So when I saw the need around the country for medically necessary resources to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, I saw an opportunity."
Brenda Shaw, the chief development officer for the Lowcountry Food Bank, said they expect to provide food boxes for 500 families on Monday.
“We are so grateful to Carlos and his foundation,” Shaw said. “We’re doing our best to meet the needs of our community and it means a lot when people like Carlos step up to the plate and make a difference.”
Dunlap, 31, is approaching his 11th season in the NFL, all with the Cincinnati Bengals. He played college football at Florida and was a second-round selection in the 2010 NFL Draft.
He’s entering the final season of a three-year, $45-million extension with the Bengals. The defensive end posted back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons in 2015 and 2016.
Through his foundation, Dunlap provides children with engaging and enriching activities to help them learn and grow. The current crisis brought on by COVID-19 prompted Dunlap to offer his assistance to the Lowcountry Food Bank.
The Lowcountry Food Bank has distributed about 830,000 meals since the pandemic began.
Shaw said the organization is thankful for Dunlap and Khris Middleton, a former basketball star at Porter-Gaud who plays for the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks. Middleton recently donated $10,000 to the food bank.
“I think when sports figures and entertainers step up like this, it inspires others to give back too,” she said. “We can’t thank these guys enough for their efforts in their community.”