Mavs Turkey Giveaway
Devin Harris and Jeff Withey teamed up to donate 250 Thanksgiving meals to local families!
MESQUITE – Dallas Mavericks center Jeff Withey experienced his first Mavs Turkey Giveaway last Thursday. And that experience left him with an indelible impression.
“I think the thing that stuck out the most was how appreciative everybody was,” Withey said. “I know one guy was crying because he was so happy and grateful and thankful for just a meal with his family.”
Mavs guard Devin Harris, Withey, the Mavs Dancers, Mavs ManiAACs and several others handed out 250 turkeys, corn, cranberry sauce, green beans, candied yams, butter potatoes, stuffing and cake mix to families in need. Harris and Withey donated the turkeys and the other items were provided by Albertsons Tom Thumb.
This was the eighth year for this event, and Harris has been a willing participant in it for four years now.
“The families have been really appreciative,” Harris said. “Albertsons Tom Thumb, they’re very gracious with their help in being able to feed these families.”
“To be able to feed 250 families on Thanksgiving I think is great.”
Steve Watson, the director for international humanitarian aid for Buckner International, praised Harris for being part of the event less than a month after the guard’s brother was killed in an automobile accident.
“One of the things everybody was asking was, ‘Who’s coming?,’ ‘’ Watson said. “I said, ‘I’m pretty sure Devin will be here.’
“I think it’s great, especially right now with what’s going on in his family. For him to still come and give back I think it’s just a great day.”
Harris has developed a close-knit bond with the folks at Buckner International, and knew this was the place he needed to be.
“With Thanksgiving being my favorite holiday, I have a lot to be thankful for,” Harris said. “It’s only right that I be able to give back and make sure these people will have the same feeling that I have.”
Buckner International is a global, faith-based ministry dedicated to transforming the lives of vulnerable children, orphans, the elderly and families across the world. The company serves over a million people in 18 countries via various programs.
Tilia Sanchez, who is a Buckner International client, was very thankful she was able to receive the complimentary turkey and all the trimmings so she can feed her family on Thanksgiving Day.
“It means a lot,” Sanchez said. “It takes a little expense off my shoulders, so it’s nice for someone to be doing something like this.”
This was the first time Sanchez has attended the event, and she vows to return again next year.
“I’m actually a part of Buckner,” Sanchez said. “Buckner has helped me a lot, so they told me about this as well.”
Now in his fifth year in the NBA and first with the Mavs, Withey had never been part of a turkey giveaway before. Now he’s hooked on all of the good that this event entails.
“I did a Toy Drive when I was in New Orleans a couple of years ago,” Withey said. “I was asking Devin about it earlier and he just said it was a lot of fun.”
“You can tell the families are very thankful for getting the turkey and food. It’s a great way to interact with Mavs fans and people in the community.”
Watson expressed how blessed and grateful he and his staff are that the Mavs and Albertsons Tom Thumb took time out of their busy schedules to show some love to their community.
“This is one of the days that, as a staff, we look forward to it, because we get to help in a huge way,” Watson said. “But it’s something that the clients start asking about in September. They started asking, ‘Are the Mavs going to be here, are they going to be giving out turkeys?’”
“It’s a huge deal for the families in this community and in the Wynnewood and Bachman Lake communities that are in our Family Hope Center. It’s just a big deal for them, because a lot of them wouldn’t have Thanksgiving dinner otherwise.”
The Mavs Turkey Giveaway was also a big deal for Withey, he said, because of the blessings that have been bestowed upon him that he had a chance to share with others.
“We’re definitely very blessed to have the opportunities that we have,” Withey said. “And to be able to give back is something that I think everybody should do if they’re able to.”
“There are a lot of people that are hurting out there. To be able to help out as much as we can, I think that’s really important.”
Withey and Harris certainly did their part in helping out Buckner International. Their graciousness was well received by the families on hand.
“It definitely brings a lot of joy to be able to give back, but it also makes you just thankful for what you have,” Withey said. “Just to be able to help somebody out or have somebody tear up for a Thanksgiving dinner, that’s a big deal.”
“Everybody around was just very thankful, and it definitely puts you in a good mood. I definitely want to show the community that I care about them and appreciate them with all of the support that they give us. It was very special and I definitely would love to do it again.”
Harris participated in the Mavs Turkey Giveaway the last two years with guard Deron Williams, who is no longer with the Mavs. And he’s happy with the assist he got from Withey last week.
“Jeff has been a great asset to our team, especially on the court,” Harris said. “And it’s great to see him off the court showing his support as well.”
Between packing cars with Thanksgiving goodies, Harris and Withey took photos with some avid Mavs fans. Then there were some fans Harris smiled about who were interested in more than just food and photos.
Harris said: “Usually it’s more about getting a turkey, and then they try to slide in and say, ‘You’ve got some tickets in there as well?’ Hopefully with the way (Mavs owner Mark) Cuban has been making stuff more affordable, hopefully we definitely can see more of them at the games.”
As folks in the final cars were slowly driving up to receive their Thanksgiving blessings, Watson expounded on the affect the Mavs had on this joyous occasion.
“I love to see the Mavs giving back to the city and to the people,” Watson said. “A lot of them are their fans, so I think it’s great for them to come out and give back to the community.”