VENICE, Fla. - The Venice High School Football Team suited up and scored big with their community this Thanksgiving by helping the Salvation Army reach residents unable to come to them.
Bryce Carpenter, a senior and the quarterback for VHS’s football team, said, “We go out and deliver it to people who can’t get out of their house to go get it … they need a Thanksgiving Day meal.”
The game plan? First prep the meals with veggies, stuffing and all the Thanksgiving favorites, then box it up.
It’s Carpenter’s fourth year volunteering.
“It’s a good way to give back to our community. They come out and support us every week,” he said.
The players headed out to Villa San Marcos, a retirement community.
Audrey Foutz was waiting for the team in the lobby.
“Happy Thanksgiving!” said Chris Sauickie, an 11th grader and VHS’s wide receiver as he handed Foutz a meal box.
She replied, “Thank you very much I love you very much.” She took one look inside the Styrofoam container at her Thanksgiving dinner and said, “Oh my, very good.”
The players went from floor to floor with only a list of names in their hands. Soon those names and their struggle become real to the players.
“I really appreciate it, all my family is up north,” Marquerite O’Connell told Sauickie.
The 11th grader who wears No. 80 on his jersey replied, “We appreciate our community this is our way of giving back. We hope you enjoy your meal and have a Happy Thanksgiving.”
“Thank you! …it's gonna make me cry!” a teary Foutz told Sauickie.
It’s Sauickie’s first year volunteering delivering Thanksgiving meals. “Once I saw them face to face and heard their stories and saw them appreciate the food, it warmed my heart to know I’m helping them out.”
Knock after knock, the greeting was always one of gratitude.
“Happy Thanksgiving!” said one player. “Thank you!” replied the voice behind the door.
“I think we have the greatest group of young people in Venice,” said Audrey Franklin, a Villas resident.
The players delivered meals to 80 residents at the villas but say they are the ones who are grateful.
“Some people are not as fortunate as I am to have a family who does so much for me," Sauickie said.
Carpenter added, “We know how fortunate we are. We love doing it and look forward to it every year.”