NFL player returns to Jacksonville to give back

Tavaris Barnes creates outreach program 'Comin' Bacc to Give Bacc'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – What do you like to do when you get a week off from work? About 350 men, women and children are giving thanks after an NFL player used his bye week to visit them in Jacksonville.

Jacksonville native Tavaris Barnes is an NFL rookie with the New Orleans Saints. The name of his first outreach program is "Comin' Bacc to Give Bacc."

With time off from the NFL, he, along with his mom and other friends and family, spent some of that time at the Trinity Rescue Mission Wednesday.

Barnes was just as excited to give as so many were to receive the toys, toiletries, food and cold-weather comforts he provided at Trinity Rescue.

"I feel like a lot of people that make it from here don't ever really give back, and I always said, 'I will never be that guy,'" Barnes said.

His mom told News4Jax this act of kindness shouldn't surprise anyone about her son.

"This is some of the things that we've been doing all his life, and when he got older, this is something he wanted to do on his own," Barnes' mother said.

Barnes said his goal is to truly touch the hearts of the people he meets.

"It's my hometown," Barnes said. "Ain't no place like home."

He said his visit Wednesday was just the beginning.

"I want to do something for single black moms, because my mom was a single mom, and raised up in Jacksonville, it was hard, and I know it's hard out there," Barnes said.

With warm smiles to greet the huge crowd, Barnes made it a point to also share words of encouragement.

"Pray for somebody else and spread the love -- that's what God wants," Barnes said.

The 6-foot-3, 275-pound defensive end announced his first annual "Comin' Bacc to Give Bacc" outreach program on social media Tuesday, saying giving back to the homeless is bigger than him.

"I'm like, 'There's no way God has put me in a position to have all of this money and not give back,' you know? So that's what I'm doing," Barnes said.

Barnes said he has so many plans for his new fortune.

About the Author:

Joy Purdy co-anchors the 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. newscasts with Tarik Minor and the 11 p.m. weeknight newscasts with Kent Justice.