Thousands of backpacks filled with school supplies thanks to Pancho Billa

The Teacher's Desk gets nearly $105,000 in donations since Ezra Castro's death last month

Mike Baggerman
June 10, 2019 - 3:37 pm

Volunteers and Buffalo Bills players come together to pack backpacks for students in need thanks to donations in the wake of Pancho Billa's death. June 10, 2019 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WBEN) – Hundreds of volunteers and members of the Buffalo Bills helped stuff backpacks at New Era Field thanks to donations that poured in following the death of Ezra Castro, who was known amongst Buffalo Bills fans at “Pancho Billa”.

Castro died last month after a battle with cancer. Instead of flowers at his funeral, one of his final wishes was for school supplies to be given to kids in need. Fans of Castro’s and the Bills responded by donating more $105,000 to The Teacher’s Desk, a non-profit organization in Buffalo, that supplies students and teachers in the region with school items.

“It’s a miracle, really,” The Teacher’s Desk Director John Mika told WBEN. “We’re shooting for 5,000 backpacks (today) and it looks like we’re going to make it.”

Mika never met Pancho Billa but said he will always be remembered as a super fan of education at The Teacher’s Desk.

Hundreds of backpacks are being stuffed at New Era Field in Buffalo with The Teacher’s Desk thanks to the THOUSANDS of dollars in donations in memory of Ezra Castro, AKA Pancho Billa

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With the $105,000, the group will supply more than $1 million in school supplies for kids in need. Each backpack contains $100 of items ranging from pens and pencils to notebooks and binders.

“This is really awesome,” Bills Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said. “I think this is the spirit of the Buffalo community. Pancho really left a legacy behind. Obviously he was an awesome fan, great father, and great husband, but it’s amazing what one man can inspire everyone else to do. This is really cool to be a part of.”


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