CLEVELAND, Ohio – With the holiday season near, Cavaliers big man Tristan Thompson helped give back to families Sunday afternoon in one of the city’s most historic neighborhoods.
Thompson and several volunteers gave out turkeys, pumpkin pies and side dishes at Fatima Family Center to families from the city’s Hough neighborhood.
The side dishes included foods such as mashed potatoes, cornbread, stuffing and cranberry sauce. The event helped kick off the Cavs’ annual “Season of Giving.” The team usually does an annual turkey giveaway, but this community outreach event was Thompson’s idea. With his work, 250 families can have a full meal for Thanksgiving.
“This is what being an athlete’s all about, being able to give back to our community, the people that support us night in, night out. Having our backs through up and downs,” Thompson said. “It’s only right for us to give back, especially during the holiday times.”
Thompson took pictures and talked with families as they came through the line at Fatima Family Center’s gym.
A nine-year NBA veteran, Thompson said he understands and can relate to not always having food available.
“I come from a family where some nights you don’t know where food’s going to come from,” Thompson said. “There’s nights where you’re going to have go to bed hungry.”
Thompson hopes he can inspire other people in the community to work hard toward success and one day give back as well.
Though Thompson helped organize the event, volunteers were helpful. It was a team effort, with volunteers including members of Thompson’s camp as well as Ward 7 councilman Basheer Jones.
As councilman, Jones represents the Hough neighborhood, St. Clair-Superior, Midtown and Asia Town. Jones was accompanied by his son Basheer Jr. and some of his son’s friends.
Basheer Jr. and his friends helped at the event, too, making sure turkeys and bags filled with the sides were ready to be handed out as people came in.
“This is what it’s all about, man,” Jones said. “I got about 50 turkeys in my car, I’m about to go do some drop-offs. This is like one of my favorite times of the year. You get a chance to really see smiles on people’s faces. It’s a beautiful thing, man.”
The Cavs began a six-game homestand Saturday night with a win against the Portland Trail Blazers. The Cavs will be home for Thanksgiving, and Thompson plans on spending time with family. His favorite Thanksgiving food is dessert.
“Dessert for sure,” Thompson said. “The worst part, but it’s the best. It tastes good.”