For the Buffalo Bills, the Thanksgiving season is a time to give back to the local community. This year, Bills players helped out in a big way by hosting and participating in several events throughout Western New York on Tuesday, Nov. 21 and Wednesday, Nov 22. Find out how the team is making a difference this holiday season below.!(http://http://bufbills.co/WL9fRz)
Micah Hyde's big Thanksgiving celebration
Although he's new to the Bills, veteran safety Micah Hyde has already established himself as a game changer on the field and in the community. Working with the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County, Hyde and his IMagINe For Youth Foundation, hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for 100 kids at New Era Field.
His foundation, which started off as a college project, supports children in a variety of different ways.
"My foundation helps youth with sporting equipment and funds to participate in sports," said Hyde. "It can be academic related, or what you saw here tonight, we gave meals to kids. It's broad. It has a bunch of different avenues it can go. Fortunately, we were able to come here tonight and put meals on the table for a bunch of kids. There's music playing, there's putt-putt – we just wanted them to have fun and get a good meal before Thanksgiving."
His first Thanksgiving event, Hyde was overjoyed by the support he received from his Bills family. Joining Hyde to help serve the children dinner were his teammates DT Kyle Williams, QB Joe Webb and S Colt Anderson. Members from the Buffalo Bills Women's Association also participated including Jamie McDermott, wife of Head Coach Sean McDermott, and Hyde's fiancé Amanda.
"This is my very first Thanksgiving event," said Hyde. "I'm thankful for all the blessings and opportunities that have come my way. The staff does an awesome job. My fiancé Amanda, my mom, my step dad and people back home…they just do an awesome job with the foundation. They love to do it…It's a blessing. I think these kids, who are young, we're trying to relay the message to be thankful for everything you have and to also get some role models in front of them. It's the holiday season and we just wanted to come here and have fun, and take their minds off everything."
Tyrod Taylor spreads cheer at the Hope House
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor paid a special visit to the Hope House in downtown Buffalo on Wednesday evening. The center, which supports women and children in the area, welcomed Taylor and fellow offensive teammates Eric Wood, Richie Incognito, and Zay jones to help dish out Thanksgiving dinner. Spreading cheer and smiles, the Bills made the night one to remember.
John Miller provides 25 families with holiday meals
Bills guard John Miller teamed up with the Belle Center to ensure that local families would get to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal. Providing 25 families with turkey dinners, Miller did his part to make a difference.
"I felt like it was very important for me to give back to the community," said Miller when reflecting on the evening. Places like the Belle Center are the backbone of Buffalo. Just what they do with their kids and the families, having a place where they can come study and teach the kids about the arts, how to play sports and to give back, is a positive thing. I was once in their shoes. That's why it was big for me. I've been there, so I just want to help out as much as possible."
Bills players attend dinner at Northwest Buffalo Community Center
Like many of their teammates, Bills LB Lorenzo Alexander, LB Preston Brown, FB Pat DiMarco, C Adam Redmond and G Will Pericak wanted to make an impact this Thanksgiving. Visiting the Northwest Buffalo Community Center, the group did just that. The center, which is dedicated providing assistance to youth and senior citizens, hosted a Thanksgiving dinner. Attending the event, the guys helped pass out meals to children and got to know members of the community.
Rookies visit community center in preparation for Thanksgiving
The Bills Toyota Rookie Club got into the Thanksgiving spirit by paying a visiting to the Delavan-Grider Community Center's after school program. While at the center, Bills players including WR Zay Jones, TE Keith Towbridge, CB Tre'Davious White, WR Malachi Dupre, QB Nathan Peterman, T Dion Dawkins, WR Brandon Reilly, DE Marquavius Lewis, T Conor McDermott, LB Tanner Vallejo, LB Matt Milano and WR Jason Croom, spent time getting to know some of their young fans and created lasting memories.
The rookies and children played games, made paper turkeys and even showed off their Zumba skills! Using their NFL platform to give back, the rookies presented the center with a youth sporting equipment donation.
For Zay Jones, the opportunity to get involved hits home.
"Life is much greater than just football," said Jones. "Life is about building relationships, enjoying people and seeing people happy. It's awesome for us to come out here and enjoy life with other people."
Jones' teammates Conor McDermott and Dion Dawkins shared similar sentiments about the event.
"We're at the community center with the kids, having a great time playing and exercising for the day – it's a great experience," said tackle Conor McDermott. "To have the kids all together and be out in the community is important for us."
"Just to show these kids that although we're pros, we're still regular people [is important]," said Dawkins. "We're here to have fun just like them. I'm thankful for the position that I am in."
Humbled and grateful for the experience, the rookies also shared what their thankful for this Thanksgiving.
"I'm thankful for my family," said Jones. "I'm thankful for my family away from my family, meaning my Buffalo Bills. [I'm] just thankful for great health and the unbelievable lifestyle that I've been blessed with and for this relationship with these kids."
"I'm thankful for everything – my family and friends and to be in Buffalo on Thanksgiving with my teammates," said McDermott. "I'm going over to Eric Wood's house for Thanksgiving."
The Bills Toyota Rookie Club visited the Delavan-Grider Community Center's after school program on Nov. 21. The rookies and kids played games, did arts and crafts and danced! The Bills also donated youth sporting equipment.