At this time of the year where we pause to give thanks, the Jets continue their outreach into the community. Through several initiatives, the team and its players will assist those in need as the holidays approach to ensure that as many families as possible do not go hungry.
On Tuesday, the Atlantic Health Jets Women's Organization served a Thanksgiving meal to nearly 300 people at the Community Soup Kitchen of Morristown. A donation of 1,000 bags of chips by Wise Snacks and a large fresh fruit donation by the AHJWO complemented the traditional Thanksgiving fare prepared by volunteers.
"As wives and significant others of the Jets, we have an opportunity but also a responsibility to give back to the community," said Michelle Tannenbaum, wife of Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum. "This has been a great partnership because it gives you wonderful perspective this time of year."
The Community Soup Kitchen has served free meals every day for the past 27 years. It is a staple for the surrounding community and is deeply appreciative of the support shown by the Jets, who have helped serve the pre-Thanksgiving meal four years running.
"The Jets have been wonderful supporters of our mission," said Lois Nichols, assistant director of the Community Soup Kitchen. "This is all to support the community. We couldn't do it without the volunteers or their support."
In addition to the meal, patrons were offered free emergency food relief. Canned goods and fresh produce were available to those who needed it most. As always, the meal was extremely popular in the Morristown community, drawing a line outside the door well ahead of the designated meal time.
"I would not miss this," said Michelle Tannenbaum. "Of all the events that we do, this is my favorite."
Mike DeVito Tackles Hunger
DT Mike DeVito's run-stopping prowess will benefit more than the Jets defense this season. DeVito has pledged to donate $100 per tackle to the Community Soup Kitchen of Morristown.
"We're thrilled Mike reached out to us," said Nichols. "He wants it to be a community-wide effort. It's to raise awareness about the hunger that exists in our own back yard and to let everybody of all ages know there's something they can do to alleviate the problem."
Jets fans have been encouraged to donate along with DeVito at www.active.com/donate/MikeDeVito. Those who do will receive an autographed certificate, regardless of the amount donated. Additionally, DeVito will be at the Community Soup Kitchen on Dec. 6 to serve a meal and meet the very people he helps feed with his generous donation.
Jets Nation Pitches In
At Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills, the Jets will be promoting the Food Bank For New York City's Text-to-Pledge program. Fans can help feed hungry New Yorkers by texting FBNYC to 5-0-5-5-5. Through the simple act of sending a text, fans will be donating $10 to the Food Bank.
An independent, non-profit organization, the Food Bank For New York City is one of the nation's largest food banks. It aims to end hunger in the city through food distribution, income support and nutrition education.
At the Nov. 13 game against the New England Patriots, the Jets held their annual food drive to benefit the Interfaith Nutrition Network. In conjunction with A-1 First Class-Viking Moving and with another 1,000-bag contribution by Wise Snacks, Jets fans donated 9,100 pounds of non-perishable food items.
Food was collected at each gate of MetLife Stadium prior to kickoff, and was delivered to the INN. Founded in 1983, the INN addresses hunger and homelessness on Long Island by providing food, shelter, long-term housing and support services.
LaDainian Tomlinson Delivers
On Wednesday, RB LaDainian Tomlinson started his day bright and early to deliver over 2,100 turkey dinners to those in need in Plainfield, N.J. Through his Tomlinson Touching Lives Foundation, LT teamed up with the Community Food Bank of New Jersey to help make the holidays a bit more comfortable for a number of local families.
"For us, that's what it's all about," said Tomlinson. "For my family, it's always been a way of getting together once a year, spending time together with your loved ones. We believe everybody should get to experience the Thanksgiving holiday."
The former NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award winner knows the importance of reaching out to the community and finds the experience to be rewarding.
"When I sit down at the table on Thanksgiving with my family, I know thousands of people will do the same because our foundation helped them do that," he said. "That's a great feeling to have."