Halloween, farming and cooking in the community

Trick or treat: Steelers players got into the Halloween spirit on Thursday when they took part in 'Trunk or Treat' at Lincoln Elementary School. The event provided kids a safe opportunity to enjoy the holiday in their fun costumes, and of course enjoy lots of candy and treats.

And for the payers it was the perfect way to give back.

"I just wanted to do something for the kids in the community," said Marcus Allen, who was joined by Terrell Edmunds and Miles Killebrew for the fun-filled evening.

Farm life: James Washington knows what life on a farm is like. After all, he bought his own farm over a year ago, a 26-acre farm in Merkel, Texas.

Washington grew up on his family's farm in Texas. It wasn't a place where he just hung out while playing sports. It was a place where he worked with his father, put in endless hours of being the workhorse, taking on challenges from plowing to fixing tractors to cleaning up the barn. It didn't matter what the task was, he was willing to do it. And when his father worked on other nearby farms, Washington was right alongside him helping out.

While at Oklahoma State he majored in agribusiness with a focus on farm and ranch management, the hope then to tend more to the family farm, but also one day possibly have his own.

And now, he is helping local kids who are interested in growing food in local gardens and farms in their ventures. Washington visited Grow Pittsburgh, a local non-profit who believes everyone in the region should have the opportunity to grow and eat local, healthy, affordable and culturally appropriate food.

Washington spent time with the youth leaders at Grow Pittsburgh's Braddock Farm, learning about the Youth Market, touring the farm, and getting his hands dirty planting and harvesting.

Grow Pittsburgh, in partnership with Braddock Youth Project and Homewood Children's Village, offers a six-week employment and educational program for high-school aged youth each summer. Students are intimately involved in the workings of the farm from seeding to harvest, additionally learning about leadership, teamwork, and how their actions affect the larger food system.

Cooking for a cause: The cafeteria at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex is a place where the staff creates incredible meals on a daily basis for Steelers players, coaches and staff, but on Tuesday, there were a few new cooks in the kitchen.

Minkah Fitzpatrick and Najee Harris attempted to show off their cooking skills as a part of the Annual Healthy Cooking Demo with UPMC Magee Womens Hospital and UPMC Hillman Cancer Center to help those fighting breast cancer and those who have survived the horrible disease.

While the players normally take part in a cooking competition in person, for the second year it was virtual with the patients at the hospital, while the players cooked in the cafeteria at the practice facility due to the ongoing pandemic.

Steelers executive chef Kevin Blinn created the menu for the players to prepare, and let's just say cooking might not be their forte.

"I make eggs and cereal," admitted Fitzpatrick.

The class has become a tradition in October for the Steelers, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it's an opportunity to give back, to show their support for those in the community battling the disease.

The participants had an opportunity to as the players questions, and the group showed their love and appreciation for the players with an enthusiastic, and socially distanced, pink Terrible Towel Twirl, the perfect ending to fun afternoon.

Keeping kids warm: On a chilly, wet Pittsburgh day, with the temperature a stark reminder that winter is soon approaching, it's hard to imagine anyone not having warm clothes for what lies ahead.

Unfortunately, the sad reality is there are people in the Pittsburgh area who could face the brutal conditions that winter can bring without the necessities so many take for granted, like a warm coat and gloves.

That is why the Steelers once again teamed with Project Bundle-Up to take kids from Pittsburgh Banksville Elementary School, through the Salvation Army Corps, shopping for winter outwear at Dick's Sporting Goods at the Waterfront.

"It's fun to be with kids from the local community and shop," said linebacker T.J. Watt. "The kids had a good time. We got everything on the checklist. They will be warm enough and have swag for the winter season.

"Growing up in Wisconsin, knowing how important it is for the extremities, the toes and fingers, to be warm, that's why when they picked out gloves, I made sure they are perfect for snowballs. Anyway we can help out and just have fun reaching out to the community is something I am happy to do."

The Salvation Army's Project Bundle-Up is a program started by two late Pittsburgh staples, Patricia Rooney, the wife of late Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney, and Joe DeNardo, the former WTAE-TV weatherman, more than 30 years ago.

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