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Kraft family and Patriots kick off holiday season at Goodwill

More than 25 current and former New England Patriots players helped distribute Thanksgiving baskets to families in need.

Every season since purchasing the team, Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft has been joined by current and former New England Patriots players and their families on the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving for a special visit to Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries in Boston.

For the 21st consecutive year, the special guests assisted with the donation of Thanksgiving-themed gift baskets with all of the fixings for a traditional Thanksgiving meal. More than 25 current and former Patriots players and their families greeted the recipients and helped carry the baskets to their cars.

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"Every year, these Thanksgiving baskets get a little heavier," said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. "That's a good thing. This has become a family tradition for me and members of my family and I love to see so many past and present players come out to offer their support and spread some holiday cheer. We have a lot to be thankful for, including places like Morgan Memorial Goodwill that do so much to improve the lives of others in need in our community. They have a great team and are a great asset to the city of Boston."

The recipients of the Thanksgiving baskets face significant challenges in their lives and have enrolled in or graduated from Goodwill job training programs. These programs build confidence and give recipients the skills they need to build better lives for themselves. All of the recipients have found work with Goodwill's help or have children who participate in Goodwill's youth programs.

Patriots Chairman & CEO Robert Kraft and members of the New England Patriots distributed Thanksgiving food baskets to families in need at Goodwill's Boston headquarters on Tuesday, November 25, 2014.

"It's been an incredible journey seeing this event grow and seeing the continued participation of the Kraft family and Patriots players," said Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries President and CEO Joanne Hilferty. "A young boy came up to me and said, 'I just shook the hand of a New England Patriot!' It's such a thrill for someone who doesn't have so much."

Stop & Shop generously donated the fixings which included cranberry sauce, gravy, peas, green beans, corn, stuffing, potatoes, quick breads, oranges, pies and more. Willow Tree donated the turkeys, Fantini Bakery provided the dinner rolls and Sterilite Corporation offered the baskets to hold all of the ingredients.

For Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, this was a great opportunity to give back to those in need during the holidays.

"Everyone on Sunday comes out to support us, so this is a great opportunity to give back to the community, to the people that aren't fortunate enough to have a Thanksgiving dinner," said Gronkowski. "Now they can because they have a turkey, rolls, stuffing and all the fixings on their plate due to Mr. Kraft and the Patriots organization."

More than 220 families received full Thanksgiving meals as a result of this event.

To see more photos and a video from the event, please click here.

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