The tradition began when Mr. Kraft bought the team in 1994, making this year's event the 20th Thanksgiving Basket giveaway. The basket recipients are currently enrolled in or have graduated from Goodwill's job training programs or have children who participate in Goodwill's youth programs.
"We realize how blessed and fortunate we've been to be in the position that we're in [as players in the NFL]," said special teams captain and wide receiver Matthew Slater. "To be able to give back to people and be able to put a smile on their face for the holiday season means a lot."
Mr. Kraft and the players began the evening with a special greeting to the families in attendance before beginning to hand out turkey baskets overflowing with all the trimmings of cranberry sauce, gravy, peas, green beans, corn, stuffing, potatoes, bread, oranges and pies - a true Thanksgiving feast. Flashes of light sporadically illuminated the room as families took pictures with the Patriots who were personally escorting them and their baskets to their cars.
Each basket carried out in the arms of the Patriots players represented something much larger than the meal its contents will provide. The baskets symbolize the fulfilling and gratifying nature of the bond shared between the Patriots and their fans.
From top to bottom, the presence of the Patriots organization could be seen and felt throughout the room. It was evident from the wide-eyed stares of those witnessing their heroes in ordinary clothes doing something extraordinary. The families that came to the Goodwill Headquarters in Boston on Tuesday evening left with a Thanksgiving meal, smiles on their faces, and warm wishes from the New England Patriots this holiday season.
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