North Georgia Cardinals Group Photo

The North Georgia Cardinals pose for a photo while social distancing in May 2020. The Cardinals are donating two insulated coolers to Calhoun City and Gordon County Schools.

The North Georgia Cardinals may not be able to take the field right now, but they are giving back to their community during a resource-stretched time.

The Cardinals, part of the National Development Football League (NDFL), are donating two insulated coolers to Calhoun City and Gordon County Schools. Each school system is receiving one cooler to help deliver free lunches to the community’s schoolchildren.

“They want to be a team that gives back to the community, so the first thing I thought of ... both of the school systems are feeding children in the community right now,” Cardinals spokesperson Toni Hedges said in a phone interview. “Why don’t we make a donation to each school system that will help them transport that food. They’re always in need of something that’ll keep food at safe temperatures.”

Hedges said she is currently waiting for the food carriers to be delivered, but added she expects them to arrive within a week.

“That’s our way of giving back to the community and raising awareness about the team and that it’s a team that’s going to be very community based,” Hedges said. “Doing a lot of charity events whenever we are able to have any kind of group activities going on.”

The free lunch program is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program, which provides meals to children at no cost during the summer. The program has also provided meals during the coronavirus pandemic since schools closed in March.

“We hope our donation of insulated food carriers will help Gordon County School Nutrition and Calhoun City School Nutrition get healthy food to the kids in our community,” Hedges said in an emailed statement.

The Cardinals have existed for two years and play full-contact football. They are co-owned by Russell Hedges and Marcus McReynolds.

Many of the players on the team attended Calhoun, Gordon Central and Sonoraville High Schools.

The Cardinals played teams in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee. They would have normally played eight regular-season games plus playoffs. However, due to the coronavirus shuttering sports, the plan is to play five regular-season contests, followed by the playoffs.

As of this writing, the Cardinals are scheduled to open the season on Saturday, June 13, at Augusta. Their home opener is slated for Saturday, June 27, versus the Tennessee Cobras. Home games are played at the Sonoraville Recreation Fields.

For more information on the team, visit the North Georgia Cardinals Facebook page.

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