Giving back, giving thanks

On Thanksgiving many people will gather with family and friends, share a big meal prepared with love, and just enjoy the blessings that they are thankful for.

And for some of those people, they will be thankful for the love and generosity of Coach Mike Tomlin and center Maurkice Pouncey.

Their only interaction with them might have been a handshake or a hug, a quiet thank you or a huge smile, but the impact the two made on the lives of some in the Pittsburgh community, will last not just on Thanksgiving day, but for a lifetime.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and C Maurkice Pouncey helped families this Thanksgiving through the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

For years the Steelers have given back to the community, especially around the holidays, and that was no different this year when Tomlin and Pouncey helped provide the makings for Thanksgiving dinner in conjunction with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank for those who need it most.

"It's really great to have this level of community support from our sports teams," said Tamara Kilgore, director of marketing and communications for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. "We always think of Steelers Nation and how many people cheer for the team on Sunday. To have the Steelers come out and think of us throughout the year is really tremendous.

"Part of our mission is to mobilize the community to eliminate hunger. It's our mission at work. Not only are you meeting them in person, but they are helping you."

Tomlin has quietly been doing a turkey distribution in the Pittsburgh area for years now, bringing his kids along to help to teach them the importance and value of giving back and helping those who need it the most.

"I think it's important to teach my kids not only with words, but with actions that we are blessed and that there is obligation and opportunity that comes with those blessings," said Tomlin. "We have an opportunity to share those blessings with others and that is appropriate this time of year."

The Tomlin family handed out turkeys and boxes filled with everything needed for a Thanksgiving dinner, bringing much needed happiness to a community in need. 
"*It's an honor," said Tomlin. "I think more than anything that is what I think about now. I am humbled to have an opportunity to do it. To positively touch people and be a positive contributor to my community, those things are important to me."

Those things are also important to Pouncey, who held his annual Thanksgiving food distribution at Stage AE, helping out families who need it most from Pittsburgh's North Side. Pouncey was joined by his many of his teammates to help with the distribution, and was happy to be able to give back.

"It's amazing to be able to do this," said Pouncey. "You see the smiles on people's faces. They really appreciate it. They enjoy being around you. You hear it all of the time, the appreciation people have for it. People tell you their stories. You feel so bad for them that people aren't as blessed as you. People go through real adversity in life. If you can help people out and if you can help out, give back, it's awesome."

Pouncey helped 200 families in Pittsburgh, and along with his twin brother, Mike Pouncey who plays for the Dolphins, they did the same for 400 families in their hometown of Lakeland, Florida.

"I am just committed to giving back," said Pouncey. "When we grew up as kids we didn't have a lot of that. Actually we had none of that. We just want to be able to give back to our community where we were raised and where we play now and show people you can make a difference in life.

"We are so blessed we should be able to give back to people without a problem and never hesitate to do things like that. It means a lot to me and my brother. When football is done, we are still going to be doing that."

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