Twenty-four hours after the Jets completed their thrilling 30-27 victory over the Texans, the New York Jets organization opened its doors to the community at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. In conjunction with Homeless Solutions, the Green & White on Monday invited 50 children and 30 adults to interact with their players on the team's indoor turf field, then sat them down for a Thanksgiving meal. The event was hosted by general manager Mike Tannenbaum and executive vice president Matt Higgins.
"Because of the shortened schedule," Higgins said, "we're not able to go out into the community like we always do around this time of year, so we thought it was important to bring the community and our neighbors into our home and host a special Thanksgiving meal."
Despite a game against the Bengals on Thanksgiving night, fullbacks Tony Richardson and John Conner, offensive tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson, defensive tackle Mike DeVito, tight end Matthew Mulligan and wide receiver Patrick Turner took time out of their abbreviated weekly schedule to entertain the children as they tossed footballs, signed autographs and took photos.
"For me personally to have this opportunity to help other people that are in need, despite what you have going on, that's the most important thing to me," Richardson said. "I'm really excited about it and I know the rest of my teammates are as well and it's a good time."
"This is a great way to give back," Higgins said. "We recognize that we're blessed to work in the NFL and to be a part of the Jets and that we have an obligation to do as much as we can to give back, especially around this time of year for those who are less fortunate."
JWO, Wise Also Give Back
Last week tight end Ben Hartsock and linebacker Kenwin Cummings visited the Community Soup Kitchen and Outreach Center in Morristown, N.J., where they served food, signed autographs and interacted with local members of the community. On Monday morning the Atlantic Health Jets Women's Organization went back to help the Soup Kitchen again.
Led by Michelle Tannenbaum and Michelle Ryan (Mike Tannenbaum's and Rex Ryan's wives), the AHJWO helped fill the Church of the Redeemer's dining room in festive decor in advance of a Thanksgiving meal for 250 needy Morristown community members. The women of the AHJWO donated gifts for needy families and Wise Foods, Inc. provided over 1,000 bags of potato chips, Cheez Doodles and Dipsy Doodles for the meal. Wise is an official partner of the Jets.
"Many of us involved with the team realize how fortunate we are every day," Michelle Tannenbaum said. "Personally I realize how lucky I am. So if you can help somebody else, even if it's one person, it feels good. It's not remotely close to how good it must make them feel. So whatever we can fand being a part of the Jets Women's Organization allows us to be invited to participate in these things whereas otherff it might not be so easy."
The Jets have worked closely with the Community Soup Kitchen and Outreach Center since they arrived in Florham Park in 2008, and within that span have become a fantastic member of the community. Lois Nichols, the soup kitchen's assistant director, said her organization has served a midday meal every day for 25 years without missing a day and also provides contacts to other essential organizations that can provide help to their guests. The Jets, she said, have been "absolutely outstanding."
"Every time I turn around, their involvement in the community is non-stop," Nichols said. "They've been a huge support to us and I know that they have been a huge support to other agencies that we refer our guests to. So their presence is everywhere."
About the Atlantic Health Jets Women's Organization
In 2008 the Jets Women's Organization and Atlantic Health partnered to form the Atlantic Health Jets Women's Organization (AHJWO). Through this partnership the AHJWO can accomplish their mission of working together to build goodwill in the tristate community through active volunteer participation.
The AHJWO is an organization comprising the wives, fiancées and significant others of New York Jets players, coaches and select football support staff members. The Jets' community relations department oversees this organization with the assistance of Michelle Ryan and Michelle Tannenbaum.
The AHJWO seeks to team up with select charities to assist in maximizing the impact of their events and serves as a unique and positive outlet in the community on behalf of the New York Jets. All members of the organization are encouraged to get involved and maximize their role to benefit others.