New Mavs Gaming head coach Ryan “Dayfri” Conger stood in frigid temperatures alongside members of the Mavs community relations team and loaded Thanksgiving boxes in the cars of North Texas families in need. Pop sensation Paula Abdul was also on hand this year, along with the Mavs ManiAACs and D-Town Crew.
The festive and upbeat event is a great way for the Mavs to serve the community and interact with people from all walks of life.
“We’re here at Minnie’s Food Pantry giving back,” said Conger, who is a player turned coach just like Jason Kidd. “Obviously this is a big deal today and we’ve turned up with 4,000 people and it’s super dope. I’m happy to be here and obviously it’s good to give back to the community. It means everything.”
Mavs Gaming is the NBA 2K team affiliated with the Dallas Mavericks franchise.
The Mavs have partnered with Minnie’s for years to co-host the turkey giveaway. It truly takes a village to pull off an event of this magnitude. Dr. Cheryl Jackson is the founder of Minnie’s Food Pantry and she opened the organization in 2008.
She founded the organization as a way to honor her late mother, Minnie. Since then, the organization has served healthy meals to more than 17.5 million meals to families in need.
Jackson has an affinity for serving others, and Saturday’s event was a perfect indication.
“It started with two cans of corn feeding the hungry,” Jackson said. “The first year we probably did about 100, 150 cars. And today we’ll probably do 4,000 cars. It’s just a place of joy where people who need a meal don’t have to feel down.”
It’s a charitable event. But it’s also a party. Dallas Mavs employee Breanna Kellogg volunteers each year because she loves the festive atmosphere and to help others.
“My favorite part is just giving back and the excitement the families have when they receive their food,” Kellogg said. “It’s special knowing you’re making their holidays as great as they can be. Paul Abdul being here was wonderful. She’s so amazing and we were so happy that she was able to come and celebrate with us.”
Leaders with Minnie’s Food Pantry said turkey prices are 73% higher than in previous years because of supply chain issues and shortages. For that reason, the organization relies on the Mavs and other community partners to help bridge the gap.
“I think it’s important to give back and it’s (special) that we as a staff are able to come out,” said Kellogg, who is a group sales account executive at Dallas Mavs. “It’s a very important part of our values and something that we strive to do.”
Through Minnie’s, families can get all that they need to make complete meals throughout the year, and not just things like canned goods or cheese blocks. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and even meat — things often unavailable at other food banks— are all available at Minnie’s. Families drive from cities all across North Texas to get food boxes at the nonprofit.
“Today is just a day about spreading some good love and doing our part to serve our communities the right way,” said Tray Thompson with the Dallas Mavs.
It’s all in a day’s work for the Mavs, who have been pouring funds and resources into Dallas/Forth Worth communities for many, many years. Saturday was no exception. Families took home a box of blessings and the Mavs took home many memories. It was, indeed, a lovely day.
If you’re a family facing food insecurity, would like to donate, or are interested in volunteering at Minnie’s, visit www.minniesfoodpantry.org to learn more.
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