TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A handful of past and present Tampa Bay Buccaneers gathered at a restaurant in Ybor City in Tampa on Wednesday to do something good for the community.
“Let’s go!” exclaimed Rakeem Nunez-Roches, a defensive lineman for the Buccaneers. “Let’s get on the ball and do what we have to do.”
“There is no real way to explain how it makes you feel on the inside,” said William Gholston, who also plays on the defensive line for the Buccaneers.
“This is where I got started,” explained Akeem Spence, “and why not begin somewhere you started and help those folks and go just on down line.”
Spence, a defensive tackle who spent his first four NFL seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is the man in charge.
“It being a trying time like this and, with everything going on, guys just wanted to do something special and just help the community somehow someway,” he said.
He started to brainstorm ideas, bouncing them off of a variety of different people.
“Akeem called me up and said, ‘hey, we want to do something for the community, given what is going on with the pandemic, the coronavirus and all of that,’ so basically what I did is contact the housing authority and said, ‘hey, let’s help our seniors, one of the most vulnerable groups,’” said Thomas Scott, a former Tampa city councilman and a former Hillsborough County commissioner.
Spence called his football friends, William Gholston, Rakeem Nunez-Roches, Mazzi Wilkins, Orion Stewart, and Kevin Pamphile. They donated money to purchase the food.
“He told me what he was doing,” said Gholston, “and I liked it and I was definitely willing to help without a doubt.”
Gholston and Nunez-Roches met Spence at 7th + Grove on Wednesday to fill boxes with food and supplies.
“Oh man, it feels great,” said Spence. “It is like, wow, so fast and so quick but I am just happy we are taking the first step to doing something positive and hopefully something we can continue maybe week after week month after month just giving back to these folks.”
The boxes will be delivered to more than 1,000 seniors on Saturday along with a hot meal prepared by one of six small businesses in the area.