MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — With Thanksgiving just a few days away, a host of Minnesota Vikings hit the community to help families in need prepare for a holiday meal.
Guard Steve Hutchinson, receiver Bernard Berrian and linebacker E.J. Henderson all hosted events on Tuesday to help brighten the holidays for those less fortunate.
Hutchinson hosted a feast for children and their families at the University of Minnesota’s Amplatz Children’s Hospital. Linebacker Ben Leber, receivers Greg Camarillo and Freddie Brown, tight end Jim Kleinsasser and center John Sullivan also attended.
Berrian teamed with Greg Lewis and Second Harvest Heartland to donate turkeys to needy families and Henderson did the same with the Minneapolis Urban League.
Hutchinson, Berrian and Henderson have made helping out during the holidays an annual thing during their time with the Vikings.
“The kids obviously are going through the surgeries and the treatments and whatnot, but the parents, a lot of them are from out of town,” said Hutchinson, who also hosts Halloween and Christmas events at the hospital. “Sometimes it’s a single mom that’s staying here for weeks or a month at a time because dad has to continue to work back home.
“Especially in the holiday times like this, you want to provide them with some sort of normalcy to have a little bit of a normal Thanksgiving meal and see some fall colors and get out of the room a little bit.”
The Vikings get something out of it as well.
During one of the most trying seasons in franchise history, the Vikings have won just three of their 10 games, had their coach fired on Monday and have faced numerous failures and scandals throughout the year.
Seeing the smiles on a sick child’s face, or helping a family in need put food on the table for the holidays, helps to get their minds off what has been a hard year of work.
“These kids are fighting for their health, they’re fighting for their lives and they’re resilient,” Camarillo said. “No matter what the doc says to them they keep fighting. You put that in perspective and football is just a sport. It’s a job and it’s a sport. These kids are fighting for something way bigger.”
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