Irked Bills fans raise $40,000

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 07: Buffalo Bills fans in the stands before the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field on 7 November, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images/AFP Photo: Douglas P. DeFelice / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Irked Bills fans raise $40,000 for vision charity in honor of NFL refs

Buffalo Bills fans outraged by the officiating in their team’s overtime NFL loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers put their passion to work, raising $40,000 for the Visually Impaired Advancement non-profit in honor of “blind” referees.

Irked Bills fans raise $40,000

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 07: Buffalo Bills fans in the stands before the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field on 7 November, 2021 in Jacksonville, Florida. Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images/AFP Photo: Douglas P. DeFelice / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

The VIA, a Buffalo-based organization that helps the visually impaired, received a raft of donations this week in increments of $17, $14 and $31 – reflecting the jersey numbers of Bills quarterback Josh Allen and wide receiver Stefon Diggs and their numbers combined.

By Wednesday night, the donations had tallied $40,000, VIA said in an Instagram post.

Fan Hunter Schinabeck got the ball rolling when he donated $17 on Monday, saying on his donation page it was “saddening to witness someone being unable to see the blatant pass interference on Stefon Diggs.

“Hopefully, this donation is a small step in the greater fight of fighting blindness and getting those with visual impairment the help they need so something like this never happens again.”

VIA GRATEFULLY ACCEPTED THE DONATION

“While we recognize that NFL referees are not visually impaired, $17 makes an impact on VIA to help individuals who are visually impaired,” the organization responded on Twitter on Tuesday.

Less than 24 hours later, Bills fans had donated $18,000 and the total reached $40,000 on Wednesday night.

“People in Buffalo, when they are aware of an opportunity to help, they just rise to the occasion,” VIA president Tammy Owen told local broadcaster WIVB. “It makes you feel great, not only about the clients that we serve but the wonderful nature of the people who live in this community.”

© Agence France-Presse

Also read: Brazil football club gives fans free tattoos