As tens of millions of people across the country prepare for a festive Thanksgiving meal tomorrow, countless others will be struggling to simply put food on the table for their families. That's why six Jets players took some time on Tuesday evening to do their part in ensuring that every New Yorker will have access to a warm meal.
Ed Reed, Quinton Coples, Jaiquawn Jarrett, Josh Bush, Leger Douzable and Zach Sudfeld drove to the Food Bank's Community Kitchen & Food Pantry in West Harlem and unloaded a truck with enough food to serve more than 600 Thanksgiving dinners, dished out warm meals to dozens of people, and spread some holiday cheer to those who need it most.
"I think this is what Thanksgiving is all about," Coples said. "This is something that's happening every day, but especially at this time of the year, we want to make sure we take the time out to help these people get on their feet. It's not even so much about food sometimes; it's just bringing the energy. At the end of the day, people see that smile on your face, it can bring a smile to their face, and that could be the difference."
One in five New Yorkers relies on a food bank to eat, and that percentage is expected to increase due to some $5 billion in budget cuts for food stamp distributors implemented earlier this month.
Lisa Hines Johnson, chief operating officer of Food Bank For New York City, said many people assume that food banks are primarily for homeless men, but that's simply not true.
"A lot of the people who come here seeking our assistance are working families who work every single day," she said. "Knowing that there are people here who want to help them and want to be supportive and create an environment where they shouldn't feel ashamed to seek this assistance they need is really what's important to us."
Of course, as one might expect from a group of NFL players, even in helping others, good-spirited competition was still abundant, and there was no shortage of fun.
"People were giving me a hard time because my scooping was sloppy, they said," Sudfeld claimed. "I never went to school for it. I'm going to have to go back and watch the film and see what that looks like, but I think I did a pretty decent job."
You've heard of competitive eating, but competitive turkey carving?
"He actually surprised me," Leger said of Ed's work in the kitchen. "He can carve a turkey pretty well. I don't think he beat me. I would call it a tie if anything. I think I might have had a little edge, but I'll call it a tie."
"His turkey was a bit bigger," Ed pointed out. "They fed that one a little bit, so he was able to get in there, but I did a great job. We put food in bellies, and that's what it's about."
To find out how you can help feed the hungry as well, follow this link.