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Former Terps star Yannick Ngakoue helps teachers stock classrooms

Yannick Ngakoue is helping 91 teachers fulfill their Amazon wish lists for their classrooms.

INDIANAPOLIS — Former University of Maryland football star Yannick Ngakoue is making moves on and off the field in his new city of Indianapolis.

With the start of the school year right around the corner, Ngakoue, who joined the Indianapolis Colts in the offseason, asked teachers to tweet him their classroom wish lists.

The Colts’ defensive end plans to help 91 teachers, because his jersey number is 91.

“Teachers are like the biggest superheroes in this country," Ngakoue said.

The Friendship Collegiate Academy alum remembers what it was like growing up in a low-income household.

He remembers sometimes going to school without food or money and how his teachers stepped up to help.

"One lady,” remembers Ngakoue. “Her name was Ms. Rawlings. She noticed that I didn't have lunch certain days and she would take from her own lunch and make sure I eat."

Teachers give a lot out of their own pockets and Ngakoue knows that sacrifice firsthand, so that's why he wanted to do something to help ease the burden on educators.

So, he hopped on Twitter and asked local Indiana teachers to post their Amazon wish lists. Instantly, the responses came pouring in.

"My brother-in-law sent me a text and was like, oh my gosh, you need to post your list," said Erin Eads, a teacher at South View Elementary in Muncie, Indiana.

When asked if she thought she’d actually receive items Eads responded, "It's one of those things where you're like, 'Oh, this would be so cool if it happened.' But I wasn't really getting my hopes up because I just didn't know. And then the Amazon guy came yesterday, and I was like, 'Oh my gosh!'"

The elementary school teacher was shocked to find a package on her doorstep from Ngakoue, full of pretzels, animal crackers, Play Doh, and books, along with a personalized message inside.

"I was really emotional about it,” Eads said. “I think just the fact that, you know, a complete stranger who has a huge platform is so willing to help others who he doesn't even know. And I work in a Title 1 school, so we have a high poverty rate. And so, it almost made me emotional in that way, too. It’s that our kids and our community and our families are seen."

So far, Ngakoue says he's reached out to 31 teachers and he's still going, with 91 as the ultimate goal.

"It's better than getting a sack on a Sunday,” says Ngakoue. You know, it makes my heart warm. And at the end of the day, football will be done and it's all about the mark that you leave."

When asked how she thought her students would react when they learned that a Colts player was the one who got them snacks for snack time Eads responded, "they will be shocked."

Ngakoue says he not stopping after he's helped 91 teachers.

He tweeted: "Little surprises will continue throughout the season with bigger plans for next year."

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