The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have taken time off the field to prioritize community outreach during the holiday season. On Monday, the Bucs Offensive Line and Publix Super Markets served full Thanksgiving meals to families in need at the “16th Annual Turkey Time with O-Line Powered by Publix.” Tampa Bay offensive linemen Dylan Cook, Luke Guedek, Robert Heinsey, Ryan Jensen, Nick Leverett, Chuck Mason, John Mulchon, Justin Skoll, Donovan Smith, Aaron Steiny, Brandon Walton, Josh Wells, Tristan Worfs, along with running backs Rashad White and their families distributed 1,000 Thanksgiving meals, made possible by $52,500 in donations from the team’s offensive lineman, assistant head coach/running game coordinator Harold Goodwin and Offensive Line coach Joe Gilbert.
Donovan Smith stated: “The line up front is in the room, give their money and we come together to help these less fortunate families… We can come over here, see these beautiful families, beautiful faces, and give back.”
“You see all different people from all walks of life coming here including some single parents, some older people, some young adults, a lot of groups and programs that make sure they get things back… being able to talk to them a little bit is such a blessing.” “
During the event, more than 75 Bucs employees, Bucs’ Offensive Linemen, Bucs’ Legends, Cheerleaders and Captain Fear, assisted in distribution efforts to families pre-selected by United Way Suncoast and local nonprofit organizations.
To kick off this year’s event, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation’s Social Justice Fund has made a matching grant of $51,500 to a nonprofit organization, Feeding Tampa Bay. This is the fifth consecutive year for the franchise to team up with Feeding Tampa Bay for a holiday initiative. The matching donation will be used through school and mobile pantries and by Feeding Tampa Bay’s 550 plus pantry agency to provide meals to community members in need throughout this holiday season.
On Monday, families received a full meal purchased by the Bucs offensive line, with contributions from Publix and TECO Peoples Gas. Meals included a 12-16 pound turkey, stuffing, Betty Crocker potatoes au gratin, cranberry sauce, gravy, green beans, corn, sweet potato and pumpkin pie, along with King’s Hawaiian Rolls donated by King’s Hawaiian. In addition, families received Thanksgiving kits in reusable shopping bags. Kits included a $35 Publix gift card, aluminum foil toaster and recipe card with energy-saving tips.