TEMPE, Ariz. — Thanks to Patrick Peterson and some Arizona Cardinals teammates, more than 200 families in need enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner.
The cornerback, along with Chandler Jones, Haason Reddick, Kareem Martin and Antoine Bethea, partnered with United Food Bank to donate 221 meals at the Fees College Preparatory Middle School.
Although Peterson said he didn’t have any experiences as a child wondering where his next meal would come from, he feels grateful he is able to use his celebrity status to help others in his community.
“It’s just a blessing for me to be in a position that I am in, thinking of others during this thankful season,” Peterson said. “Some kids are not able to experience Thanksgiving, let alone to experience meals away from school. I just want to make sure these families have a proper way of spending their Thanksgiving.”
Rustyn Sherer, chairman of the board of United Food Bank, said the event was a big win for the organization and those looking to have their holiday spirits lifted.
“It’s fantastic,” he said “It raises awareness for us at United Food Bank because we are the food bank of the East Valley and Eastern Arizona. Any time you can associate a celebrity with a status like that to a nonprofit organization like ours, people in the community take notice. “
After learning Peterson was interested in being involved, United Food Bank decided to donate 221 meals in honor of Peterson’s No. 21 jersey.
Peterson’s efforts have not gone unappreciated.
The donation by Peterson and United Food Bank takes away the stress of feeding a table of six during the holiday, Tempe’s Nina Gizzard said.
“This is going to help a lot,” she said. “It’s a lot of money I get to save. I work but don’t make a lot.”
Grizzard also said events like this can change one’s perspective of athletes.
“It shows that they actually care,” she said. “They’re more than just a team – they’re humans.”
Sherer was just as appreciative of Peterson and his Cardinals teammates who gave time during their off day.
“I think it’s tremendous because it shows everyone that the Cardinals care about giving back to the community and to the fan base,” Sherer said. “It shows that people care, even at the highest level, for the people that care and are supporting them.
Peterson, who operates his own charitable organization, said becoming a father opened his eyes and made philanthropy even more worthwhile.
Although Peterson played a large role in giving back, he was thankful for the effort United Food Bank and his teammates put forth to make this a successful event,
“It’s always great to have my teammates here to show support,” Peterson said. “There’s never been a lack there with the Arizona Cardinals. It’s our duty to help each other especially during situations like this when it’s time to give back to the community.”