Five years and 1,300 Thanksgiving Day meals - #40, Mike Alstott thanks Hillsborough County's First Responders

Mike Alstott, former fullback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, says giving back to the community is in his DNA. And Alstott, known affectionately to Bucs fans as the A-Train, gives back in spades. Five years ago, Alstott, through the Alstott Family Foundation, began donating complete Thanksgiving Day meals to all firefighters working at a station and away from their families on the holiday.

Did you know?

Firefighters pool their money and pay for their own meals while on duty. Typically, one or two firefighters are the designated cooks and keep first responders fueled and ready to fight fires and respond to calls.

On Thanksgiving Day, Alstott takes the expense and shopping off the table and provides over 270 fire team members with a meal.

How it works

Alstott partners with Werner Logistics to make this donation possible. In fact, Werner team members contribute $5 out of each paycheck to donate to charitable causes, the Alstott Family Foundation being a favorite.

Alstott and the Werner team arrive at Hillsborough County's Public Safety Operations Complex early in the morning the week before Thanksgiving, armed with dozens of turkeys, stuffing, Bassano cheesecake, rolls, green beans, and more. Joffrey's Coffee was new to the lineup this year.

Around 9 a.m., the fire trucks start rolling in. Battalion Chiefs representing all 47 fire stations receive meals for their teams working the Thanksgiving shift. Fire department rookies line up to bag the groceries and load up the trucks.

Giving thanks

The feeling of community pride is evident, and gratitude is mutual. Volunteers are so thankful for the service and dedication of the Hillsborough County fire team and the firefighters and dispatchers are thankful for the time and the meal.

And all along, Alstott is there, shaking hands, expressing his thanks, and loading trucks with turkeys.

Posted: 11/27/2023, 7:40:47 PM