Ravens giving turkeys to needy for holiday

6 players, team official buy 150 birds

families will get them today

November 20, 2001|By Laura Cadiz | Laura Cadiz,SUN STAFF

Birds will be donating birds to needy families today, just in time for Thanksgiving.

Baltimore Ravens players and Howard County Councilman C. Vernon Gray will dole out 150 turkeys at the Howard County Government Office Building in Columbia.

Six players - Terry Allen, Obafemi Ayanbadejo, Jason Brookins, Sam Gash, Alan Ricard and Moe Williams - and Earnest Byner, the Ravens' director of player development, purchased the turkeys. Mars Supermarkets donated the side dishes, including cranberries, stuffing and sweet potatoes.

"We care about the people that are struggling in life, and this is a small way of assisting them," Byner said.

Byner and the players will pick up the dinners with a truck donated by Tony's Moving & Storage and distribute them to people participating in community programs administered by the Community Action Council of Howard County, the Salvation Army, the Department of Social Services and other county agencies.

Proof of involvement in the programs is necessary to receive the dinners.

"I think it shows people who are recipients that there are people beyond their immediate circle who care about them and have their interests at heart and want to show it," Gray said.

Gray, an east Columbia Democrat, wanted to bring some of the players to Howard County after watching the team's involvement in Baltimore and Baltimore County, and he raised the question, "Why not Howard County?"

He talked to his friend Byner to work out the details, and the Community Action Council of Howard County is helping sponsor the event.

Gray said he hopes to bring the Ravens back next year to again hand out Thanksgiving dinners.

"I'd like to see the team more and more involved in Howard County, as well as what they're doing in the city," Gray said. "This is hopefully the beginning of more involvement of the team in the Howard County community."

Byner and the players bought an additional 150 turkeys for needy families in Baltimore and will distribute them at 3 p.m. at the John Eager Howard Recreation Center, 2100 Brookfield Ave.

"I know the county [Howard] has as many needs as the city, so we wanted to split it between the city and the county," Byner said. "Thanksgiving is a time when we need to be thankful, and we are thankful for the blessings we have, and we want to share that with the public."

Gray and the Ravens will be handing out the dinners today from noon to 2 p.m. at the Howard County Government Office Building, 6751 Columbia Gateway Drive, Columbia.

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