In 2019, the Carolina Panthers established May 1st (5/1) as Keep Pounding Day, an annual day of community service to honor the legacy of former Panthers player and coach Sam Mills. His enduring spirit and gift of the "Keep Pounding" rallying cry continues to unite and inspire both fans and players alike. Last year's inaugural Keep Pounding Day featured 25 hands-on service projects in recognition of the team's 25th season and benefitted communities across North and South Carolina.
This year, May 1st provides a special Keep Pounding Day opportunity for fans to join the team in serving through "virtual volunteerism" and acts of kindness and gratitude for others. Throughout the nation, communities have banded together to show support for medical professionals, essential workers, small businesses, educators, those who have lost jobs, young adults who have missed out on experiences like graduation and all those affected in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Panthers fans have always been generous in their support of the team's community outreach efforts," said director of community relations Riley Fields. "While shelter-at-home and social distancing measures make it difficult to come together for traditional hands-on efforts, we look forward to seeing how fans develop their own unique ways to uplift the community. From participating in virtual volunteer opportunities to leaving a note of gratitude for a mail carrier, simple acts of kindness help bind us all together in this challenging time."
Team historian, David Monroe, recalls meeting Sam Mills for the first time. Monroe had just entered his first year in the NFL and was reduced to a sense of awe when meeting the nine-year NFL veteran Pro Bowl linebacker. However, "after a firm handshake and sharing a couple of minutes with him," Monroe recalls, "his warm smile and genuine friendliness made me feel comfortable and a part of the team."
This year's Keep Pounding Day provides us all with the opportunity to share the same warmth and kindness that was Mills' hallmark as we Keep Pounding for each other.
Fans are encouraged to share their Keep Pounding Day efforts by using #KeepPounding on social media. See below for information on virtual volunteer needs by regional non-profits, as well as thought starters for individual acts of kindness and gratitude. Read here for more information on the ways that owner David Tepper and the Panthers are supporting local relief efforts, healthcare and Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools during this difficult time.
We encourage you to try doing 5 acts of kindness on the first day of May – Keep Pounding Day
- Become a virtual volunteer for a community agency (North Carolina Volunteer Opportunities / Charlotte Volunteer Opportunities / South Carolina Volunteer Opportunities)
- Support a local restaurant or small business in your community
- Call and check on a friend or loved one
- If you're healthy, make an appointment to donate blood (One Blood / Blood Connection / Red Cross)
- Register to participate in the virtual Keep Pounding 5K
- Pick up trash around your street / neighborhood / home to help keep your community beautiful
- Read a book virtually to a child
- Leave a note of thanks and encouragement in your mailbox for your mail carrier
- Make a donation to your local food bank
- Leave a note of encouragement in your neighborhood with sidewalk chalk
- Make a protective face mask
- Help your favorite non-profit with their Amazon wish-list needs
- Pay for the person behind you in the drive-thru
- Deliver a special treat to your neighbor
- Come up with your own way to make a difference on Keep Pounding Day