Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller remembers his mom's home cooking and her sweet potato pie for his Thanksgiving. This and many other Thanksgiving memories were stirred up at the Northwest Buffalo Community Center (NWBCC) on November 23, 2010 as the Buffalo Bills Toyota Rookie Club served their 10th Annual Rookie Club Thanksgiving dinner for over 300 children and their families.
Bills players in attendance included C.J. Spiller, Torell Troup, Ed Wang, Arthur Moats, Alex Carrington, Antonio Coleman, David Nelson, Levi Brown, Marcus Easley, Dominique Harris, Cordero Howard, Donald Jones, Danny Batten, Montez Billings, Naaman Roosevelt and John Russell.
The support of the Bills was noticed and appreciated by the players.
"I still can't get over how supportive the community of Buffalo is to the Bills," said Troup. "Despite records or what happens on the field, this community will never turn their back on us. Because they are so supportive of us I can't help but give back to the community as well. This community has left an imprint in all of us and I will always remember nights like tonight."
The gym at the NWBCC was jam packed like never before but there was plenty of food for everyone. Ms. Juanita Anderson, who is largely responsible for all of the delicious food and cooking at the event, was presented with a personalized #10 Bills jersey by the Bills players.
"Ms. Anderson definitely knows how to cook and the fact she cooked for over 300 people is amazing," said Moats. "We passed out Thanksgiving dinners to those who may not have the opportunity to have another meal on Thursday. It was really special for us because we got to sit with them and eat with everyone who came out tonight."
After the dinner, the Bills rookies introduced themselves and said what they were most thankful for this year.
Wide receiver Donald Jones, who was excited to score his first career touchdown last weekend, is also very excited to spend his first Thanksgiving with his newborn son. All of the players were looking forward to spending some time with their family and eating a good home cooked meal from their mothers.
The players, children and their families all had a fun time, but it was the food and fond memories that everyone was talking about.
"The Bills rookies came along to show their appreciation and celebrate thanks and show how thankful they are for everything," said Diamond Solomon, 17, and NWBCC member. "Ms. Anderson did some great cooking and definitely got people fed tonight and my favorite part was the eating part – everything was delicious!"
"For us to come and spend time and share a piece of our Thanksgiving with them is a very humbling experience and a very joyful experience," said David Nelson. "It's something I will remember forever."
The Bills were active in a host of other Thanksgiving related events this past week. Some of those events included:
- Players and coaches donated money for Thanksgiving meals from Tops Friendly Markets on November 22, 2010 for the Valley Community Center in Buffalo. 75 large meals were donated by John Gamble, Eric Ciano, George Cortez, Bob Sanders, George Edwards, Reggie Torbor, Akin Ayodele and Andra Davis. Each meal included a 25 - 30 pound turkey, 12 fresh bakery rolls, 10 pounds of potatoes, three cans of green beans, three cans of corn, two cans of homestyle gravy, two cans of cranberry sauce, two boxes of stuffing, a gallon of apple cider, a gallon of fruit punch, one apple pie, and one pumpkin pie!
- With the help of the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County, the Food Bank of Western New York and the Northwest Buffalo Community Center, safety George Wilson donated 100 "boxes of love" (turkey dinners) to select families on November 21, 2010 as part of his SAFETY Foundation and Home for the Holidays program.
- Cornerback Drayton Florence donated 110 turkey dinners to students and their families in the local "Take Stock in Children" program in Ocala, Florida on November 22, 2010.
- Bills alumni Booker Edgerson, Ed Rutkowski and Lou Piccone served up turkey dinners at the Buffalo City Mission on November 16, 2010 for the annual Thanksgiving Community Meal.
- Bills alumni Booker Edgerson, Charley Ferguson, Bob Dugan, Ed Rutkowski, Ernie Warlick, Hilton Crawford, Will Fowler and others were on hand to distribute Thanksgiving packages with all the trimmings to over 60 needy families at the Urban Christian Ministries (UCM) Center in Buffalo on November 23, 2010.