A lot of Jets players plan on coming together this holiday season.
"In this locker room the veteran guys make sure that the younger guys or their teammates have somewhere to go on Thanksgiving," said Jerricho Cotchery. "So they can spend their time around their teammates or around families. So they can have something to eat and just be in that atmosphere. We create a great atmosphere around this time. That's what it's all about."
David Harris' family is going over to spend the day with Brad Smith's. Jim Leonhard's family is going to spend the day with Danny Woodhead's.
"I plan on going over to Bartholomew's house. He has something going on over there," said Bryan Thomas, referring to Bart Scott's planned gathering of more than 20 Green & White players. "It's good because a lot of people don't have family up here. A lot of rookies or whoever don't have family to eat with. We'll all break bread together and eat like a team and a family."
The holidays are especially timely this year for long snapper James Dearth after the recent passing of his mother.
"I'm thankful for my family. Sometimes things happen and you take family for granted," Dearth said. "It makes you look at your family in a different light. This is a great time of year. You get to show who you're really appreciative of. Really, it should be an everyday thing. This is just the one day you really spotlight it."
"I feel for all the people that don't have jobs, that are looking for jobs," kicker Jay Feely said, "and I think each one of us needs to be grateful for what we have. If we have our health, if you have children, be grateful you have them and be grateful for our freedom."
Mike DeVito and Robert Turner did their part to help those people out while volunteering on their off-day, Tuesday at the Interfaith Food Pantry's annual Thanksgiving distribution program in Morristown, N.J.
"It's great to get out here and see these people and see the smiles on their faces and knowing their families are being fed," said DeVito, who also made a $1,000 donation to the Interfaith Food Pantry. "It's great to see the Jets as an organization always doing things like this."
In the diverse Morris County community that comprises people from Russia to South America, Turner and DeVito helped hand out 430 turkeys and other groceries during the second day of distribution to help supplement needy families' cupboards.
"You see people go in there, you don't know their situation. You know the economy's rough right now — it's been rough on everybody," said Turner. "It's nice to see people smile, nice to see them light up even if it's just handing out a turkey or helping someone to their car with a bag."
"We're a supplemental food program," said Katy Galton, a registered dietician and nutrition educator with the Food Pantry. "Some people just need a little bit extra because they can't meet their ends to get the food that they need. By providing the food for them, then the money they would need for the food, hopefully they can spend that to pay the medical bill and help pay their rent."
The Interfaith Food Pantry purchases food whenever donations run low in order to maintain the goal of providing reliable assistance to the community. The pantry serves 1,800 Morris County households directly and distributes more than 16,000 pounds of food each week from three IFP locations and through partner agencies, which is especially helpful during the holidays.
"This Interfaith organization is great," said DeVito. "They're taking care of people and doing this all the time so I'm just really grateful to be a part of this today. It's a blessing for these people."
The two Jets will spend their turkey day a bit differently. DeVito's catering in at home with Boston Market, and Turner's family is coming up all the way from Texas.
"That's what life is all about," said Cotchery. "Despite all the adversity that you have, the situations that you have in life you have to take a step back and appreciate all the things that you have.
"Sometimes we're moving so fast in life and life is taking us through a big spin. We get caught up in that and we never take that deep breath to just appreciate what we have. I'm definitely thankful for my family and the opportunity to play for the New York Jets."