The Hogfarmers comprise a group of Washington Football Team fans who go an extra mile or two. For people of my ‘vintage’, they are reminiscent of the Hogettes. No, they don’t wear ladies’ dresses. Yes, they dress up in burgundy and gold and go to cheer on the team at games, but, more importantly, they work to make a difference in the lives of children with pediatric cancer and those kids’ families.
I first became aware of the Hogfarmers from seeing them in my Twitter timeline; the Hogfarmers pop up regularly — usually by way of a thank you note from someone in the WFT community, or through one of their own posts, often put up to encourage a sick kid.
Last year I saw a thank you of sorts posted online directed at the Hogfarmers:
A couple of weeks ago I got a message on my Facebook page about an 11 year old girl named Destinee Loggins. She lives not far from me in a little town called Lansing, North Carolina. This little girl has been diagnosed with leukemia and is at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
As I opened the Facebook page, Destinee’s Journey, the first thing I noticed other than that sweet smile was that she is a huge Redskin fan. I continued to scroll and see people showing support and love. And then the Redskins [players] started popping up. Today I saw a message from Chase Roullier and the Hog Farmers. Thank you Chase!!! I don’t know who the Hog Farmers are but they sent a huge basket of candy and gas cards for the family, so thank you as well..
Saturday at 5PM the family is having a benefit. For those of you who do not know what this is, mountain people have always come together to help people, and Lansing, NC is no different. I have sent her my treasured Darrell Green jersey and told her she can wear it when she grows into it. I’m not asking for any of you to send anything, but please go on Facebook and send her Redskin fans prayers and encouragement.
Among all the great sentiments expressed by the writer in the post, I was surprised to read that he didn’t know who the Hogfarmers were.
It occurred to me that many other WFT fans may not be aware of them or the efforts they make in the community, so I thought I’d take some time to learn more about them and share what I learned. That was just over a year ago, but the importance of what the Hogfarmers do hasn't faded, so I thought I'd kick off the month of June this year by revisiting and updating what I wrote last year.
To research my article, I started out by contacting the Hogfarmers via Twitter, and asking them for a bit of information. They very promptly responded:
When a child is diagnosed with cancer, the family becomes devastated. The news can be a lot to deal with to include overwhelming emotions and instant expenses.
Hogfarmers Inc. Charity Foundation is a group of Redskins super-fans who aim to elevate the mental, social, and emotional well being of children and their families affected by pediatric cancer.
Whenever a family receives word of a diagnosis, we step in to help. The support can include: gas cards, food cards, Redskins memorabilia, personal medical items, visits to the hospital in our crazy Redskins gear, toys and books.
If we can get a smile in their troubling time, the mission is complete.
The names of our group are: Chris Bryant, Jeff Rinehart, K.J. Thomas.
You can see exactly where their priorities are — the kids and their families. Chris, Jeff and K.J. included their names almost as an afterthought.
I wrote back and asked for more information about how the three of them met and got started, and got a fairly brief reply.
“Honestly, we are just three guys that connected through being Die-hard Redskins fans and social media. We would chat about being more than just fans that could give back to our community.”
I realized immediately that I had things wrong in my head. I was thinking of writing an article about K.J., Chris and Jeff.
Of course, the story is about the the need to support sick children and their families. That’s how the Hogfarmers want it, I imagine.
These three guys are very very active in support of families and children impacted by pediatric cancer. They sponsor raffles; they organize events; they appear at other people’s events; they visit kids; they send Washington Football Team paraphernalia and gift baskets filled with practical items for the children and families, and they make contact — tons of contact — via social media. Frequently, they arrange for messages of support to come from, not only the HogFarmers themselves, but Washington players, and they constantly encourage others to reach out with a message of support for the children who are fighting for their lives.
What the Hogfarmers do pre-dates COVID, and in previous years they organized events like draft parties and player visits to sick kids in hospitals.
While some of that still happens, with COVID, those types of activities have been scaled back, but the Hogfarmers' use of video, tweets, "care" packages, and other online social media contact has made them highly effective as the pandemic has raged for over a year.
Learning more about the support for kids with pediatric cancer and their families
If you visit the Hogfarmers website (www.hogfarmerscharity.org), you’ll find a ton of information telling you what they’re all about.
Nearly 15,780 kids are diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. each year. The Hogfarmers work hard to support children, affected families, and touch lives of everyone effected by childhood cancer and its devastating effects.
The Hogfarmers are Washington Football Team fans, but they go far beyond that, combining their passion for football with compassion for pediatric cancer patients and their families. They support the team, pediatric cancer patients, and their families with time, energy and enthusiasm.
TheHogfarmers and the families they benefit sincerely appreciate all of the donations received. The costs associated with childhood diseases are staggering, and part of the donations are used to assist these families in any way that helps.
General everyday basic needs can be a cost that puts a drain on a family’s budget while they have much larger concerns.
The HogFarmers gladly purchase items like this for families to not only alleviate some costs, but to also help them manage their time. Shopping for family needs while a child is in the hospital can become a burden, and we are glad to help.
If you’d like to donate to the Hogfarmers and you can afford to do so
It’s quick and easy to help these guys make a difference in the lives of sick children and their families. Donations can be one-off, or monthly, for as little as $1.
Something like a jersey with their favorite player’s number and their own name on it can make any kid feel special.
Nothing makes a kid feel great like a bunch of new toys!
Playing with new toys keeps a kid’s mind active and helps them just be a kid for a while and take their mind off of what they are going through.
Cards and care items help kids feel less lonely, and to know people are thinking about them and care for them.
Medical bills pile up, and The HogFarmers also use donation to help assist with deferring some of these costs.
IPads, electronic games, and other items have been donated to area hospitals.
We sincerely hope you will find it within your heart to help us help these families. No one wants to be in the position they are — and to know they have support behind them can make a world of difference.
Tons of good work.
They make it all about the kids and their families.
Washington Football Team fans making a difference.