Cowboys players serve Thanksgiving meals at Dallas and Fort Worth Salvation Army centers
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Dallas Cowboys players layered the red Salvation Army aprons over their jerseys 2 days after their 35-27 victory over the Detroit Lions, in order to hand out Thanksgiving meals to customers at the Salvation Army’s Carr P. Collins Social Service Center in Dallas. Meanwhile, Rookie players also took part in serving at the charity campus of Fort Worth.
Before opening statements and prayers were made, diners had cheered as Joe Looney, DeMarcus Lawrence, Jason Witten, and other players filed into the cafeteria. After that, players split up between the 2 floors for handing out meals to about 350 people at the center.
Undergone the partnership with The Salvation Army since 1997, it has become a tradition for the team to serve early Thanksgiving meals yearly. According to Charlotte Jones Anderson, Cowboys executive vice president and chief brand officer, this is the sixteenth year that players have served.
Anderson said of the Salvation Army that “When you find a partner that is truly doing all that they can to help those that no one else wants to help, you can do nothing but admire their commitment and dedication to serving people.”
Clients at both locations received a hot meal along with beanies from United Healthcare. The Dallas Cowboys Rookie Club’s presenting partner, Essilor and the Essilor Vision Foundation (EVF), provided vision exams, vision screenings and eyeglasses for clients who participated in the shelter’s long-term programs.
When Ezekiel Elliott showed up 25 minutes after lunch service began, Juan Teniente joined others in cheering as Elliott running to the kitchen and pick-up a serving tray.
Being a Cowboys fan since 1996 and donned an Elliott jersey on this day, this is not only Teniente’s first time seeing the players in person, but also his first time being at The Salvation Army for having a meal. Teniente turned to the agency after being separated from his partner. Due to his criminal history, it’s a struggle for him to find a place to live. Then he was encouraged by a friend to enroll in THRIVE. That’s a program which offers job assistance and helps clients like him learn how to find financial stability. Teniente is waiting for the day he receives the call for temporary housing, then he could begin his road to recovery.
Volunteering at the Salvation Army is a chance for the players to be able to give back and meet fans.
Looney said, “It’s all about giving back to the community. To see the smile that you put on somebody’s face just because you’re a football player — it’s unbelievable.”
The Cowboys will go on their road on Sunday to play the New England Patriots. After that, they will go up against the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving Day, at AT&T Stadium.