JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Members of the Jaguars offensive line helped provide turkeys and Thanksgiving food for 500 families as part of the “Turkey Time with the O-Line” event.
It was a partnership with the Jaguars, Feeding Northeast Florida, CSX and Century Ambulance. Jaguars players Andrew Norwell, Tyler Shatley, Jawaan Taylor, A.J. Cann, Brandon Linder, KC McDermott and Ben Bartch were part of the effort. The food was handed out to families by volunteers Friday.
“Thanksgiving is built for offensive lineman,” Shatley said. “Obviously we all love to eat, but I want everyone in our community to be able to enjoy that time with family. It’s easy to get tunnel vision in 2020 and just focus on me and my family, staying healthy and getting through the season, but there are so many people that aren’t able to work right now and aren’t as fortunate as we are. It’s important to be able to help out.”
The event began in 2019 when Norwell and his foundation, along with his teammates hosted a Thanksgiving feast for 250 children from the Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Florida.
“I started my foundation to help block childhood hunger and this event is special,” said Norwell. “The guys coming together, that’s who we are as a unit. We help each other out week in and week out and as professional athletes, we are in a position to give back to the community. We wish we could be there on the front lines.”
The players could not be onsite for this year’s giveaway due to COVID-19 protocols, but volunteers distributed Thanksgiving meals on Friday morning at a drive thru in Lot J at TIAA Bank Field.
According to Feeding Northeast Florida, the food bank is on track to distribute 28 million meals throughout Northeast Florida by the end of 2020, which is a 90% increase from last year.