Fri. Nov 26th, 2021

There was bright sunshine and a spirit of togetherness on the North Shore on Tuesday morning when Pittsburgh’s three major professional sports teams — the Pirates, Steelers and Penguins — combined efforts on a Thanksgiving meal distribution event in conjunction with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and Giant Eagle.

Between 10 a.m. ET and noon, local families in need had the opportunity to drive around the cul-de-sac on Mazeroski Way adjacent to PNC Park and receive a turkey and additional food items for their Thanksgiving meal. A contingent of more than 25 front office executives and current and former players loaded the food into people’s cars in a heartwarming display of the bond between the teams and their collective drive to positively impact the community.

The Pirates were represented by team president Travis Williams, bench coach Don Kelly, pitcher David Bednar, former players Steve Blass and Neil Walker and broadcaster Greg Brown. Current Steelers players Zach Gentry, James Pierre, Benny Snell, Cam Sutton and Chris Wormley were also among those who participated, as were former Penguins players Colby Armstrong, Eric Tangradi and Bryan Trottier. The team mascots — the Pirate Parrot, Iceburgh and Steely McBeam — also greeted members of the community who stopped by.

“At this time of year, we all reflect and are thankful for the blessings we have, and it’s great to be out here today to forward blessings on to others,” Williams said. “It’s also wonderful that we were able to team up with the Steelers and Penguins and do something like this together as Pittsburghers.”

The current and former players on hand consistently spoke of their desire to give back to the community that has shown their teams a great deal of love and unwavering support over the years.

“Anyone who has lived in this region or knows this region knows how important the professional sports teams are to the people here,” said Walker, a product of Pine-Richland High School in nearby Gibsonia, Pa. “It’s important to the community for all of us to come together at this time of year — especially after coming through COVID, where people may have had their jobs taken away. It’s great to see the sports teams here in Pittsburgh understanding that and figuring out a way to impact the lives of a lot of people.”

“Any time we can blend our sports teams and have a chance to say thank you to the community, and support the community like they support us, I think it’s fantastic,” said Trottier. “Hats off to the Penguins, Pirates and Steelers for making all of this happen.”

Surveying the scene with representatives from all three teams helping to load food into cars, Snell smiled and said: “This is true Pittsburgh right here, all of us coming together to help the community. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Lisa Scales, president and CEO of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, also attended Tuesday’s event, and she shared the following thoughts:

“This is such a terrific event with the Pirates, the Penguins and the Steelers all coming together. As professional sports teams, they know the importance of good nutrition. It’s great for them to lend a hand to our neighbors who are struggling to put food on the table. Efforts like this provide hope. They help to fill people’s plates and ensure that people have access to nutritious food. I’m so pleased with how this event came together.”

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