The Dolphins once again were hard at work over the past few weeks trying to help everybody in South Florida enjoy a happy Thanksgiving.
Players, cheerleaders, alumni and staff collaborated throughout the month of November in serving the South Florida community with Thanksgiving distributions and hosting dinner events, the highlight coming Tuesday night when the Dolphins hosted their annual Thanksgiving Meal Distribution presented by Hyundai.
The event took place at Hard Rock Stadium, and Dolphins players were on hand after practicing at the Baptist Health Training Facility at Nova Southeastern University in the afternoon.
Players Stephone Anthony, John Denney, Matt Haack, Ted Larsen, Quentin Poling, Jason Sanders and Kenny Stills, along with T.D., staff and Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver G. Gilbert lined up to distribute 500 Thanksgiving meals from Publix to local families in the South Florida area.
Purchased by players, coaching staff and Hyundai Motor America, the traditional meal kits were capable of feeding a household of 6-8 people and consisted of a turkey, mash potatoes and gravy, dressing, cranberry sauce, and marshmallow delight. The families, pre-selected by Feeding South Florida from 50 non-profit partner agencies throughout Palm Beach, Broward and Miami Dade-Counties, also had the opportunity to take photos and get autographs from the players.
"Hyundai is proud to again partner with the Miami Dolphins Thanksgiving outreach program," Hyundai Regional Merchandising Manager Mike Donahoo said. "Giving back in the communities our team members live and work in is a big part of who we are; it's very rewarding and we have looked forward to participating."
With the support of the Dolphins, Godchaux and Wilson hosted additional turkey distributions to the South Florida community, with Godchaux's event providing 152 turkeys and Wilson's event with 100 turkeys. Wilson held his event Wednesday, exactly one month after sustaining a season-ending hip injury.
On Sunday, as the Dolphins bye week came to an end, Drake spent his day off working with the Miami Dolphins and Publix to host a Thanksgiving Dinner for 50 kids of the Broward Boys & Girls Club. The youth had the opportunity to spend an evening with Drake, meet Dolphins cheerleaders, tour Hard Rock Stadium, and enjoy a Thanksgiving Meal provided by Publix and Dolphins staff. Additionally, each child went home with a Publix Meal Kit capable of feeding 4-6 people for their families to enjoy on Thanksgiving Day.
"Being able to do this with these kids," Drake said, "let them know that there are people out here that care about them, that want them to do well, I feel like it's important."
That wasn't all, however.
In partnership with Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Miami-Dade Commissioners, the Dolphins distributed turkeys and gift cards to more than 500 families throughout Miami-Dade County just in time for Thanksgiving. Together with Dolphins alumni Donald Brown, Troy Drayton and Twan Russell and cheerleaders, the Dolphins delivered 60 turkeys to the students of Hialeah Gardens Elementary with Commissioner Jose Diaz; 60 turkeys to Commissioner Rebeca Sosa's District Office in West Miami; and 60 turkeys to the Leadership Learning Center at St. John Bosco with Commissioner Eileen Higgins.
Dolphins alumni Lorenzo Hampton and Russell, cheerleaders and staff followed up by picking up and delivering 60 turkeys to an event hosted by Commissioner Barbara J. Jordan at the Landmark Community Center in Miami Gardens on Monday. Dolphins alumni Sean Clancy, OJ McDuffie, Bryant Salter and Shawn Wooden and cheerleaders joined Gimenez later that afternoon to distribute 100 additional turkeys to Curly's House of Style in Liberty City, Miami. In addition, the team joined forces with Miami-Dade Commissioners Sally Heyman, Audrey Edmonson, Jean Monestime, Daniella Levine Cava, and City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez to provide gift cards and turkeys to underserved constituents within their respective communities.
In total over the recent weeks, the Dolphins distributed Publix gift cards, meals and turkeys to feed more than 1,500 families throughout Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties, including visits from alumni, cheerleaders and executives. These events were a follow-up of the Dolphins Kids Cook-Off presented by Publix in which Dolphins players, staff, and local police officers provided 19 students with an interactive cooking class and a $100 Publix gift card to help with groceries for the upcoming holiday season.
"We are proud to be active and engaged community partners of South Florida and we want to give back with what will hopefully make the holiday season a little easier for families and those less fortunate," said Jason Jenkins, Dolphins Senior Vice President of Communications and Community Affairs. "Thanksgiving holds a special place in the hearts of our players, coaches and staff and we want to share that experience with the South Florida community. Football is synonymous with family and teamwork and by working together we hope to make this Thanksgiving enjoyable for everyone."