Ryan’s donation will be equally distributed to two charitable organizations: Atlanta Community Food Bank, which provides foods to the needy, and Giving Kitchen, which offers emergency assistance to food service workers.
“Obviously there’s a ton of stuff going on right now with a lot of areas that need a lot of help, and we certainly have a lot of friends in the restaurant and food industry here in Atlanta," Ryan told ESPN. "We felt like [Giving Kitchen] is a unique and cool organization that has helped different restaurants, people in that industry. We thought it would create awareness for one of the industries that’s going to struggle during this time.
"The Atlanta food bank is obviously another organization that does a great job. Certainly, there is a great need for funding there. It made sense for us to try and make a small impact."
According to Georgia Health Department figures, there have been 121 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state. One of those individuals died. Georgia declared a statewide emergency for 30 days beginning March 14, and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms directed a temporary prohibition of large public gatherings to minimize the spread of the virus.
Ryan empathizes with the restaurant employees who will suffer lost wages as folks opt not to dine out.
"These places aren’t getting their typical income, so hopefully this helps [the workers] get through a little bit of a difficult time," Ryan said. “We’re not sure how long this is going be or how slow it’s going to be during this time. Hopefully, we can help people get through the next week or two to help cover their bases.’’
The COVID-19 outbreak, with more than 4,000 cases in the United States and more than 80 deaths, has affected Ryan and the NFL community. The league announced Monday that teams will delay the start of their offseason programs indefinitely. The Falcons, who closed their home facility to everyone except essential staff until March 27, would have started their offseason program April 20.
“You’ve got to be prepared for whatever comes up,’’ Ryan said. “As this point, while the offseason program is important to us, I think there are more important things in society that we need to take care of. I think that’s where everybody’s head is at during this time."