New York professional athletes give back to the community this Thanksgiving

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NEW YORK – It's the season of giving and from the field, to the ice, to the court, New York's top athletes are showing their gratitude this Thanksgiving.

“This is the part of being an NBA player that doesn’t get old or don’t take for granted at all,” Brooklyn Nets guard Jarrett Jack  said.

The Brooklyn Nets were all over this holiday with the entire team showing up to give out free turkeys, stuffing and more to families in need.

“I appreciate this so much to know you guys think about us," said one woman.

“Very excited to be getting a turkey," a mother with a young child smiled. "It’s really helping out my family a lot!”

“It’s a good feeling to go out and give back,” Shane Larkin, Brooklyn Nets guard, smiled.

"How cool is this right now?" I asked a kid getting a free meal. "It’s awesome!”

And I had a chance to go to a New Jersey Boys and Girls Club where a few more players were serving up food to kids.

“I love doing this to come out here and serve food to the kids is always good, they’ll remember this one day” Chris McCullough, Nets forward and native New Yorker, said.

Knicks players dished out meals through the Garden of Dreams Foundation's 'Day of Giving.'

“With all the fan support you get I think it’s an obligation to give back to the community so for me it's a lot of fun," Arron Afflalo, New York Knicks guard, said.

"It's an opportunity to give back, especially around this time of Thanksgiving, everyone has something to be thankful for," Kyle O'Quinn, Knicks forward/center, added. "Around this time it's just good to put smiles on people's faces."

The Rangers got in on the action too, scooping and serving hot dinners to underprivileged city child, also part of the Garden of Dreams Foundation.

“The holidays are about family and your community is part of your family," Dominic Moore, Rangers centreman, said. “I’m working the dessert station so I get a lot of smiles at my end.”

“It sets you up for the holiday season, be able to provide a great meal for everyone," Ryan Mcdonagh, Rangers defenseman, said.

The NFL teams tackled it this Thanksgiving with the Giants helping unload 1,500 turkeys at a Stop & Shop in New Jersey that we later donated to hunger relief organizations.

“With the holidays coming up there’s a lot of families in need and to be able to help them and get them a warm meal is a great thing to do," a Giants player siad.

The Jets stepped away from the gridiron and teamed up with the Food Bank for New York. They helped distribute, prep meals and serve dinner to more than 600 guests.

Then there's the Yankees who joined forces with Legends Hospitality and the Supportive Children's Advocacy Network to host a Thanksgiving feast for hundreds of local families.

And the NL Champion Mets hit all corners of the city with council member Melissa Mark-Viverito and Gristedes to hand out hundreds of turkeys.

“Very excited to be here with Mr. Met and all these families that are going to be receiving these turkeys and be able to share them with their families on the holiday," Mark-Viverito said.

The city's newest professional team, NYCFC, gave back a little differently by getting kids off the couch and moving!

“It’s one of the best parts of what I do," Patrick Mullins, NYCFC forward, said.

He and RJ Allen visited an after-school program in Queens to have fun, run drills and teach them the importance of healthy eating.

“I enjoy meeting each one of the kids because they're all different and they all remind me a little of what I was like growing up their age,” Mullins said.

The Islanders and Devils are both holding food and coat drives ahead of their games this week to help those in need.

No matter the sport, all of New York's teams and top athletes couldn't be more grateful to help make this Thanksgiving special for everyone.

“I’m thankful for my family, my friends, my school  and I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!” a little girl receiving a free meal said with a big smile.


Thanks to all the teams who helped provide footage for this story.
Produced by: Kim Pestalozzi