TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – More than 900 Tampa families will have a turkey for their Thanksgiving dinner thanks to a generous donation from a Bucs player.
Typically, William Gholston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defensive line are tackling opposing players on the football field.
On Thanksgiving eve, they made an impact off the field by helping tackle food insecurity in the Tampa Bay community.
“So to be able to come out and give our time, even though we just came from practice, it’s kind of filling our tanks up,” Gholston said. “You fill yourself with good energy when you pass on smiles and joy to somebody else.”
Gholston and his teammates went straight from practice to the food pantry they started a year ago around the holidays at Middleton High School.
“So instead of a temporary impact, we said we’ll do the food pantry,” Gholston said. “Put it someplace where it’s needed. They said this is the place or area and we got it going. Feeding Tampa Bay came to help us out.”
Joined by Captain Fear and some of the Bucs cheerleaders, Gholston and his teammates surprised the hundreds of people in line with a Thanksgiving turkey and all the fixings.
“Everything you need for a Thanksgiving meal, you’ll be able to get here,” Gholston said, “plus, the things that they’ll get just by coming to the pantry.”
Carolyn Young pulled into the parking lot more than three hours before the food distribution began.
“I wanted to be the first in line to get a turkey,” she said.
This year the holidays arrive at a time when families are feeling the pain of inflation at the grocery store. The American Farm Bureau found the cost of putting together a Thanksgiving feast is 20 percent more than a year ago.
“It really does matter,” Young said. “That’s why I go to every pantry to get food to help my family out.”
Gholston shared with News Channel 8 the one dish he can’t go without on Thanksgiving.
“The one thing that I know I’m gonna have on my plate, no matter how many plates, is cranberry sauce,” he said. “I don’t know why, but I love the sauce.”
In total, Gholston and the Bucs distributed 920 turkeys. Gholston wears number 92.