BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — If you’re still angry about the missed pass interference call on Sunday night, you’re not alone. While there’s nothing fans can do about it, Bills Mafia is turning that anger into something productive.
The movement started with a donation from Hunter Schinabeck, a Massachusetts resident, but a lifelong Bills fan. Outraged over Sunday’s call, he put the question out on social media, asking what fans could do to make the situation right.
“Somebody said, ‘oh donate to a blind charity, for the refs,'” said Schinabeck.
So that’s exactly what he did.
“I found the VIA (Visually Impairment Advancement) after a quick Google search. They seemed to be doing a lot of good, so it was an easy decision at that point,” said Schinabeck. “And then I just made my donation in honor of the NFL refs.”
Vision Impairment Advancement is a local nonprofit rehabilitation agency that helps people with vision loss.
Ray Zylinski is visually impaired and an employee of VIA. He tells News 4 that the donations will be put to good use, for people all around Western New York.
“We serve a large demographic of folks. All the way from when you’re first born, up until our oldest clients- over 100,” said Zylinski. “We have services all in between there, so this support does mean the difference for a large number of people,” he added.
Donations flowed through the VIA website all day – especially in $17 increments, representing Josh Allen’s jersey number. As of Wednesday evening over $40,000 has been donated.
“People in Buffalo, when they are aware of an opportunity to help, they just rise to the occasion,” said President and CEO of VIA Tammy Owen. “It makes you feel great, not only about the clients that we serve but the wonderful nature of the people who live in this community.”
Click here to donate to Vision Impairment Advancement.
Abby Fridmann is an anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in November 2020. See more of her work here.