Maurkice Pouncey just kept smiling. As every person went by him, thanking him and wishing him the best, he couldn't help himself. It just made him happy knowing that their day was going to be a little bit better.
It's the way Pouncey is. He is always trying to help others, always trying to bring a smile to someone else's face, while at the same time his smile is right there.
"I am just in a position to give back," said Pouncey. "I like to bring smiles to people's faces. If I can help out a little bit I am totally into it."
Since coming into the NFL five years ago Pouncey has been all about giving back to the community in any way he can. He doesn't hesitate to attend team outreach functions, or ones hosted by his teammates. But when you see him really shine is when he is out there hosting his own events, giving back from his heart because that is the only way he knows how to.
Maurkice Pouncey teamed up with the Food Bank and Giant Eagle to Giveaway a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings.
ouncey has annually hosted a Thanksgiving food giveaway in conjunction with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, giving back to those on Pittsburgh's North Side, as well as one in his hometown of Lakeland, Florida. He has touched countless lives, bringing joy to families whose table might be empty otherwise.
"Growing up, we didn't have a lot," said Pouncey. "We know what it was like not to have a lot of things in your life and a lot of people were much more fortunate than you. Now that my brother and I are in the position where we can help a lot of families out, we are all hands in for it. We enjoy it. We love seeing the smiles on their faces. The stories they share, the appreciation they have for us for doing what we do. It's a big part of our lives and we are going to do it until we can't anymore."
This year Pouncey was joined by his father and sister at his distribution in Pittsburgh and because of the Steelers bye week schedule was able to attend the distribution in Lakeland along with his twin brother Mike, who plays for the Dolphins.
"Our family is truly one of a kind," said Pouncey. "We are truly blessed and hopefully we can change a lot more lives with the blessings we have. Both events worked out really well this year with my family being there. To be able to go home to Lakeland was huge for the city and everybody involved. Everybody came out and helped. Volunteers were carrying stuff to cars. It was huge and I know everyone was happy.
"You see the smiles, you know how people react, and how thankful they are people give back and help them. At home we know a lot of the people we are helping, we know the families, we share stories and laugh about the old times and they let us know how thankful they are. It is memorable. That is one of the biggest accomplishments of my life that my brother and I are doing."
While giving back at the holidays is important to Pouncey, his generosity can be felt year round at home. Every summer the two brothers host the Team Pouncey Football Camp in Lakeland, which includes football and cheerleading instructions and is free to all kids.
"My brother and I have been playing football since we were six years old," said Pouncey. "It's always been part of our lives. We used to go to camps ourselves and we loved it.
Maurkice Pouncey is active in a variety of ways throughout the Pittsburgh community . Check out some photos of Maurkice supporting his favorite charities.
"This camp is special to us with 600 kids who come out every year. The city, the families that come out, they know the Pounceys are going to take care of Lakeland because that is where we are from, that is where our hearts are. That is what we love to do. We bring some of the older players who are from Lakeland back for it, players we played with in high school that coach at high schools. It's time to work with the kids. It's truly memorable. Everything we do comes out of our pocket, don't ask others for money, we just take it out of our pocket and spend it the right way."
Pouncey said one of the things he enjoys the most is seeing kids come back to the camp year after year, just like him and Mike did at football camps when they were growing up.
"It a dramatic change," said Pouncey. "The kids come back and say remember me from last year and we remember them.
"I look at it as me and my brother and I remember the same feeling when we got autographs from Derrick Brooks and John Lynch thinking they took time out for us and show us their appreciation for us. We looked up to those guys. We were those kids one day and now these kids look up to us and it really is special and means a lot."