DALLAS - COVID-19 forced the Cowboys to alter their annual Thanksgiving dinner with the Salvation Army.
Usually, current players help serve meals to those in need. But because of the coronavirus, some Cowboys legends took over that duty Tuesday.
George Teague, Darren Woodson, Tony Casillas and Hall of Famer Charles Haley were among those loading vehicles with boxes of food at the Salvation Army’s drive-thru grocery location near Downtown Dallas.
For Woodson, it was personal.
“Every year it’s been a situation where I’ve always wanted to come back and give back. Because when I was a kid growing up the Salvation Army was always there for me. I was an inner-city kid, grew up in the projects of Phoenix, Arizona and I can remember walking to the Salvation Army which was directly across the street from the projects and they were there to serve me and serve my family,” he said.
“This is real life. This is where it all happens. I’ll tell you when I pulled in, it was just amazing. It was touching. It became emotional very quickly just seeing the cars lined up,” Teague added.
More families than ever need help now during the pandemic and the local Salvation Army has been serving twice as many people as normal – more than 1,000 a month.
“So many people who used to be out here helping serve unfortunately are in the receiving line right now. So we are happy to be out here to support. We are encouraging all of those who can to participate, to get involved with the Salvation Army and to do your part as we continue into these challenging holidays,” said Charlotte Jones Anderson with the Cowboys.
“The Salvation Army is committed to rescuing Christmas for families and individuals throughout the holiday season and beyond. And we need your help,” said
And for Teague and the other former Cowboys players called into service, the event was a chance to help and put things into perspective.
“A lot of times we take things for granted, you know. In our profession we have things and we’re playing football games and we’re complaining about people not being in the stands and things of that nature. Then you realize that people need food. And so this is really a good self-check to remind what’s the most important thing about our game and that’s to give back to others,” Teague said.