DALLAS — For one November afternoon, it was the other way around. The less fortunate and downtrodden had something to give those who have it all.
The Dallas Cowboys served early Thanksgiving dinners to Salvation Army men and women at the Carr P. Collins Social Service Center. It didn’t matter the Cowboys weren’t enough 24 hours removed from a baffling, frustrating, embarrassing 27-7 loss to the Atlanta Falcons that saw quarterback Dak Prescott sacked eight times. The ‘Boys were greeted with the adulation reserved for victors.
“For them to say, ‘hang in there; you guys are going to get back on track,’ you appreciate that support,” said tight end Jason Witten. “That encouragement goes a long way, especially like a day like today where we’re coming off a tough loss.”
Prescott found the outpouring of supporting “humbling,” but also felt fortunate himself to take upon the servant’s mantle and help the Salvation Army clients.
Said the 24-year-old Pro Bowler: “After a day like yesterday, you want to be down, you wanted to be pissed off for the most part, you get up and you have a new day to yourself, and I get to come in and I get to do something like this and just experience the interaction and be a part of something great the Cowboys and the Salvation Army and everybody takes part in.”
The cause of hunger is especially significant to All-Pro center Travis Frederick, who has an eponymous foundation that recently held event to “block out hunger.”
“It’s hard to believe sometimes that Dallas, being of the cities that’s better off in general, has a huge hunger issue,” said Frederick. “So, when you have these people that aren’t able to secure food on a daily basis, it causes major problems in their lives. It’s hard to focus or perform any function when you’re hungry all the time. So, anytime that you can get meals to those people in need is certainly helpful.”
The Cowboys’ association with the Salvation Army began in 1997 when Cowboys Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer Charlotte Jones Anderson wanted to find a way to use the off-field attention of the franchise to promote community outreach; to use the cache of the Cowboys to give back. 20 years later, the Cowboys are still serving early Thanksgiving meals and extending halftimes on Thanksgiving for mini-concerts to kickoff the organization’s famous Red Kettle Campaign.
“I think that it is our responsibility to take the interest and the visibility of what we do on game day, and people magnify that and celebrate that right or wrong or misplaced,” said Anderson. “But since that visibility and attention is there, it’s our responsibility to do something impactful with that. And we can do that with the Salvation Army. We can bring that spirit and that energy here to the people who really need it.”
Witten, who is in his 15th season with Dallas, has taken part of these events every Thanksgiving.
“I think when you come into the Cowboys, you understand this organization really tries and works hard to get their players the opportunity to partner with them and give back and take advantage of that platform,” said Witten. “Today, really there is no better example than what we are experiencing right now.”
The Cowboys are 14-6 in the game immediately following their holiday outreach event with the Salvation Army. But the franchise knows true victory can still be won outside the white lines and a 60-minute constraint.
“If we can help the Salvation Army do what they do, then we’re winning,” Anderson said.