The leaves are dropping and fall weather is in the air. That means the Thanksgiving holiday is right around the corner. That also means that it’s time for some turkey giveaways.
For the fourth straight year Penguins players handed out turkeys and other food items to Hill District families.
Maxime Talbot, Brooks Orpik
, Alex Goligoski, Paul Martin
and Deryk Engelland
went to the Allequippa Terrace Community Center on Tuesday afternoon to hand out turkeys, vegetables and potatoes to 120 families.
“It’s my fourth year doing this. It’s great to have a chance to give back,” Talbot said. “We’re making Thanksgiving better for a lot of people. So that’s pretty cool.”
“It sounds cliché, but it’s just a small part of our day,” said Orpik, who is also participating in his fourth turkey giveaway. “It’s always fun to come up here. You see how much these people appreciate it. It makes you thankful for what you have on a daily basis, especially at this time of year. There are a lot of things that you take for granted. This puts it in perspective for you.”
The event, as always, was held in partnership with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. The families chatted with the players as they filled their bags. Several people commented on the cut on Talbot’s eye.
“You should see the other guy,” Talbot told them jokingly. “He looks even worse than I do.”
Talbot later added: “Every time we come down here it takes a couple hours, but to see the smiles on their faces. Each time is different and each time you see the people’s reaction. It’s a good thing we’re doing here. It’s a good thing the team is doing.”
The day wasn’t just special for veterans like Talbot and Orpik, but also for first-year deliverer Martin.
“Sometimes you take things for granted,” Martin said. “You’re accustomed to having Thanksgiving with your family and having food. To be here today and see the families that need this for Thanksgiving really opens your eyes to how important it is to spend some time giving back. You learn to appreciate that not everyone has the same things that you do. To give your time is the biggest thing.”
After handing out all the food the five Penguins signed autographs and posed for pictures with many of the families. The players seemed to enjoy the moment just as much as the families.
“Just seeing how excited and appreciative these people are, and just playing for a team that’s from their city gives them a connection to us,” Orpik said. “They have some pride in that too. Seeing how excited they get every year and seeing the smiles on their face after they leave makes you feel good about helping them out.”