A mayor, a football player, and 400 turkeys
On Thursday (Nov. 19) I sort of met Bills running back LeSean McCoy. It happened in City Hall, at a simultaneously sweet and heartbreaking event in Mayor Brown's office. Turns out Brown has a Thanksgiving turkey give-away tradition. It apparently started years ago, when he was a Councilman, and would buy 25 or so turkeys and deliver them to homes of needy constituents. Now, as mayor, he buys hundreds of turkeys (he uses his campaign funds), and invites hundreds of needy folks to his office, where they are given a whole turkey as well as a bag of groceries - stuffing, rolls, cranberry sauce, vegetables - for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. They also get to shake Brown's hand, and have their picture taken with the mayor if they want to. Many did, including little kids. (Brown is especially good with kids, although I noticed one youngster, possibly told not to talk to strangers, passed up the chance to pose with the mayor). The trail of people coming into Brown's office to pick up the holiday supplies was a cross-section of the city. Black, white, and brown, including recent immigrants, some of whom likely will have their first Thanksgiving in America. All expressed gratitude for the food - a reminder that as many talk of the city's resurgence, Buffalo remains one of the poorest major cities in the nation, with half its children living in poverty.
None of that, however, explains how I - currently the City Hall reporter for The Buffalo News - sort of met a football player.
Here's how that happened.
Last year, Brown bought and handed out 300 turkeys. This year, the mayor's office got a call from McCoy's Shades of Greatness Foundation, which asked to help out with the pre-Thanksgiving event. McCoy's Foundation provided an extra 100 turkeys, so this year, 400 were given away. The Foundation also helped out in the mayor's office distributing the groceries to the needy. McCoy's parents, Ronnie and Daphne McCoy, drove five hours from their home in Harrisburg, Pa., to help with that. And then, when their football star son was available later in the day, he came to the mayor's office, where he happily posed for pictures, and talked about how important it is for him to give back to the community, especially in this holiday season.
I took his picture. That's how I sort of met a football player.
From left, Mayor Brown; LeSean McCoy, and McCoy's dad, Ronnie McCoy.