The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank helped tag-team to defeat hunger for the eighth-straight year at the annual Turkey Delivery Thursday afternoon just in time for Thanksgiving.
Those in attendance were the Penguins’ American-born players Paul Martin, Rob Scuderi and Beau Bennett who all helped deliver turkeys, plus a variety of vegetables, to 100 deserving families at the Hill House’s Kaufmann Auditorium in the Hill District.
Each family was preselected by the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to be given a turkey, potatoes (regular and sweet), stuffing, yams, carrots and cranberry sauce to make their Thanksgiving dinner complete.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for our families in the community,” said Cheryl Hall-Russell, president and CEO of the Hill House Association. “It allows us to get to know the Penguins better, but it also exposes them to the social services and other things we have at the Hill House Association. I think it’s terrific.”
Martin, who helped hand out the most important part of the holiday feast, the turkey, is now in his fourth year volunteering at the event.
“I think it’s a good feeling,” Martin said. “It’s good for us to come out into the community and meet some people who are less fortunate and don’t have some of the stuff that we have over the holidays, so for them to get a nice meal before Thanksgiving is big.”
Fellow blueliner Scuderi experienced his first turkey delivery on Thursday. He enjoyed lending a hand, but made it clear that there were a lot more people involved in the event that deserved recognition.
“It feels great,” Scuderi said. “We only come down a few hours here and that’s fine, but I think there’s a lot of people here that volunteer their time. A lot of credit goes to them.”
For Ron Cichowicz, the Chief Communications Officer at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, he believed it was important for the Penguins players to actually come out and spend time with the community rather than just donate money.
“These are their heroes,” Cichowicz said. “They often are thought of as heroes because of what they do on the ice, but I think when you see them here today, and what they’re doing, they become genuine heroes to these people because they don’t have to do this. They do this because they want to out of the goodness of their heart and through the Penguins organization.”