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Former UMD, NFL Player to Host 20th Annual Coat Drive

By Maryland Athletics Staff

Former University of Maryland football standout and NFL All-Pro Shawne Merriman will hold his 20th annual Lights On Foundation Coat Drive leading up to Saturday's Maryland-Rutgers football game at SECU Stadium.

This year's donation recipients will include Helping Up Mission serving Maryland's homeless population and MCVET (Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training).

"The coat drive has always been special to me because I know how it feels to not have a coat during Maryland's brutally cold weather,” said Merriman, whose nickname as a player was “Lights Out.” ”To commemorate 20 years of providing warmth to our community, I want to set the bar high and bring in a record number of donations."

Volunteers will collect gently used coats, hats, scarves and other cold weather gear at designated entrances of SECU Stadium from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Collection bins will be set up at Gates I, F and C.

Initiated while still Merriman was a student at Maryland, the Lights On Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life for youth and to help the homeless. It has collected more than 38,000 coats over the past 19 years to benefit communities in the Maryland and D.C. areas as well as those affected by disasters such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012 as well as the COVID-19 pandemic.

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