Let’s get them the toaster.
That was the joke as Eric Dillard—known to Jacksonville Jaguars fans on Twitter by username @E_Dilla—shared the wedding registry for Trevor Lawrence and his fiancée, now wife, Marissa Mowry.
The middle school sweethearts got married in Blufton, South Carolina over the weekend. And as the (presumed) imminent quarterback for the Jags, Jacksonville fans have made it a mission to keep up with all going on in the former Clemson Tiger Heisman finalist's life recently.
So when Dillard sat down to lunch on Friday and began scrolling through Twitter, he saw a couple of tweets here and there referencing the couple’s wedding registry, and more specifically, the $299.95 high tech toaster listed as a gift idea. He clicked the link to see what was still available, shared it to Twitter and asked his 7,340 (at time of print) Twitter followers if they wanted to kick-in and buy him the same toaster as the one on the registry.
“My buddy Cap (@BoldCityCap) kinda kickstarted the idea. He tweeted at me about buying a few things and sending it as a collective ‘to you, from us.’ Welcoming him and his soon to be—current—wife to Jacksonville,” Dillard shared with Jaguar Report on Sunday.
Dillard quickly pivoted and told fans to send donations to his Venmo and he’d buy the toaster for the future Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence as a gift from the Jaguars fan base.
“When I first posted it, it was a joke but I absolutely thought we’d get the $300…I’ve helped kickstart a few crowd funding type events this year with a book drive in January and donating to help restore the old Stanton Building in downtown Jacksonville in February so getting the $300 always seemed realistic.”
In the end, $300 was not realistic. It was seriously underscoring what the response would be.
Dillard’s reputation and the community he’s created amongst Jags fans on the social media site meant he was credible. The book drive he initiated in January began when a local Jacksonville elementary school reading coach shared an Amazon wish list. She wanted to put 24 books into the hands of students, since COVID-19 had wrecked book drive plans.
The request made it on to the @E_Dilla timeline, who called in Jaguars fans on Twitter. At last count, the school had received over 1,400 books. A month later, Dillard and Stephen Solliday enlisted fans again to raise money for a historic building—the Stanton Building—which is in need of repair.
So really, a toaster was nothing.
Dillard realized he had another viral fundraiser on his hands in less than an hour.
“Within the first 30 mins I thought the top might come off of this. I posted the initial tweet with my Venmo information at 2:15. The first donation of $10 was made at 2:18 and At 2:32 the total raised was $305. At 2:47 the total had already almost doubled to $605.
“It was at that point I started to text some buddies for advice. I thought it would be cool to buy a few items but I sure didn’t want to raise a thousand dollars or so (lol) and buy out a bunch of items off the soon to be first overall picks wedding registry.”
Which is a fair point. Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, the first overall pick in last year’s NFL Draft, signed a four-year deal worth $36.1 million. In other words, he can afford the toaster.
So Dillard decided to give Lawrence and Mowry something even more valuable. A true welcome to what all Jaguars fans can do.
“I quickly jumped back on Twitter, opened a poll with the idea of donating the rest after purchasing the toaster and maybe the vacuum. I thought it was important to float the idea first because I had already collected $2,250 at this point and wanted people to be okay with where their money was going. I believe the poll ended around 87% in favor of donating the rest to charity.”
Another fan actually purchased the toaster, freeing up more money for the vacuum and donations. But it seemed even after Dillard made it clear the toaster and vacuum were covered and the rest would go towards the charity of Lawrence’s choice, the donations came in even faster.
“We hit $5k in 9 hours."
That number continued to grow.
“Since then Folio Weekly joined by adding a little raffle to the donation. Anyone who donates/donated $9.04 or more by April 16th will be automatically entered to win the same Toaster that was at the top of Trevor’s gift registry list. That’s already pushed more than another $1500 thru the door. It was more of a thing than I ever imagined it would be, but at the same time, I’m not surprised. Some great people around here.”
Anyone who donated at least $9.04 or more was automatically entered in Folio Weekly’s raffle.
Jamal St. Cyr of News4Jax got in touch with Lawrence’s agent and Dillard was able to follow up from there. The agent is working with others in his office to plan the best way and place to make the donations on Trevor’s behalf. As soon as those details are finalized, Dillard says he’ll share the update on Twitter so fans can know where the money was given.
Fans have continued to purchase other gifts on the registry as well, from cutting boards (with pun intended) to pillows.
Jaguars fans have always created a sense of community, to the point of it becoming legendary. Often times it’s been somewhat self-deprecating. The team hasn’t been good, but at least the fans head each other. Now they’re about to have the guy everyone wants. It’s created a frenzy.
"The fan base is enamored with Trevor because everyone genuinely feels like he’s that unicorn QB prospect,” reflected Dillard.
“On the field he’s nothing short of great. Off the field he’s really got people's support too. I think his outward persona and attitude fit really well in Jacksonville. Being from just 5 hours away in Cartersville [Georgia] and us having to hear a lot of big media complain for him about how bad it is that he’s having to go to Jacksonville over New York when Jacksonville seems like the perfect place for him really is just the cherry on top.”
Social media can be a cesspool at times. Just a never ending parade of negativity. But with now their third viral fundraiser in less than four months, this little subsection of the internet is taking on a whole new role. And to be able to do this in the name of their new quarterback represents all that makes the Jaguars twitter community special.
Said Dillard, “Friday was really a great day on twitter. Sense of community was at an all time high. But like I said earlier, for as exciting and incredible as it is - when you step back it’s not surprising. This community loves to give. Add in the Jaguars and things will always get weird.”
Things did in fact get "weird," then slightly shocking, then inspirational. Trevor Lawrence was made aware of not only the gifts but the fundraiser. Coming off of his wedding, he pledged $20,000 to a Jacksonville charity, and all but confirmed he'd be a Jaguar soon.
Florida golfer Billy Horschel shared a favorite Jacksonville charity of he and his wife, promising to match any donation Lawrence made to Feeding NEFL. Revolution Cooking added $5,000 as well. By the time the fundraiser window closed, the amount raised (including Lawrence, Horschel and Revolution Cooking's donations) had stretched well into the thousands.
In total, $54,938 was raised. It will be distributed to Feeding NEFL, K9s for Warriors and 5 Star Veterans Center.
There's a decent point to be made here about a soon to be millionaire not needing any help to buy a toaster. But a wedding registry is often just as much about family and friends wanting to contribute to the couple's married life than the couple's ability to purchase the items themselves. And that's what this started as for Jaguars fans. Trevor Lawrence is supposed to be the savior. As Dilliard pointed out, the fanbase is already enamored. The toaster, the vacuum, the cutting board, all of it was symbolic. It was a welcome, the fanbase's way of saying welcome to Jacksonville, let us help you make it your home.
Trevor Lawrence answered, locking arms with Horschel, fans and community organizations to say thank you for the welcome; let's get to work.