LAWRENCE, Ind. – A Cincinnati Bengals player is raising money for a central Indiana non-profit by selling thousands of new “Cincy” hats.

Bengals Center Ted Karras is from Indianapolis. He originally decided to make the hats for his teammates, but then decided to sell thousands of them to benefit an organization right in his hometown.

The money raised will go towards the Village of Merici, an organization and community that provides housing and a variety of services for adults with disabilities. Ted’s mother said he has always had a passion for the organization.

“Teddy‘s always been a very generous, giving, passionate person,” his mother, Jennifer Karras, said. “So, I wasn’t surprised when he wanted to give back to the Village of Merici. He had an affinity for the village. It’s always been a great cause in top of mind for him.”

Since around Thanksgiving, Ted has sold around 3,600 of his “Cincy” hats, raising around $150,000 for the Village of Merici.

“He’s just a great nice guy, supportive,” said Colleen Renie, the Executive Director for the Village of Merici. “And this hat project is giving us not only a revenue stream and fundraising, but also an opportunity to pay some of the individuals that don’t work. So, as they pack hats, they’ll be earning a wage.”

Several residents, volunteers and members of Ted’s family helped pack the first 1,200 orders on Saturday, getting them ready to ship for the holidays.

“We’ll continue to take orders as long as they’re going,” Renie said.

His mother is proud of his effort, but certainly not surprised.

“I think it’s great,” Jennifer Karras said. “He’s very giving of his time, and I know the villagers really appreciate when he comes by. He’s very close to many of them keeps in touch with them during the week as well.”

But Ted’s generosity stretches well beyond the hats, Village of Merici staff say.

“He’s provided not only funds, he comes and visits with the residents,” Renie said. “He taught them to how to play blackjack and poker. He lets them try on his Super Bowl rings when he’s in town. He does more than just give money. He provides a lot of connection to the individuals.”

In fact, Ted bought tickets for several of the residents to go to a Bengals game next weekend in Cincinnati.

The Village of Merici says orders for the new “Cincy” hats have come from all across the country, as far as Texas, California, and even Hawaii. The majority have come from Cincinnati, other parts of Ohio, and Kentucky.

“We’ve been very appreciative of the support from the Cincinnati Bengals fans as well,” Jennifer Karras said.

You can order one of the hats online. All the proceeds will go towards the Village of Merici, which is in Lawrence.