The Carolina Hurricanes are doing their part to ensure that no one in the Triangle area goes hungry this holiday season. The Canned Food Drive started on November 9th (and continues through today), and on Monday evening a special meal was made even more meaningful when Hurricanes forward Brandon Sutter and goalie Justin Peters served dinner at the Raleigh Rescue Mission.
Sutter and Peters, along with assistant athletic trainer Doug Bennett, all took turns behind the counter, greeting Mission residents with a smile and serving a generous helping of meats and vegetables. Men were served in the first shift, followed by women and children, all in all between 60 and 70 at the tables enjoying a hearty supper. Afterwards, the players stayed for autographs and photos, and received many thanks from RRM participants for the contribution of their time and efforts.
While both players have been involved in many volunteer events over their careers, actively being behind a counter serving meals was a new experience for both of them, and their perspectives of the event were quite humble.
"It's great, for us it takes a small part of our day to come down here and to get the chance to help people out, and maybe put a smile on their faces. It's really a good experience and I'm happy to participate," said Sutter. He was surprised by the amount of food that was prepared and the number of people who were in line to receive meals, especially the children.
Peters said, "It's very rewarding to be able to hand people their food and see the smile on their faces, it's something that we often take for granted. It's an eye-opener for me and I definitely won't take a hot meal for granted anymore."
Given the game schedule, it isn't possible for the two young players to travel home to be with their own families during the holidays, but both offered assurances that the Hurricanes organization had matters well in hand and would make sure they were well fed for Thanksgiving dinner.
And about that facial hair... Both Sutter and Peters are participating in Movember, a campaign organized to foster support and raise awareness of mens health, specifically around prostate cancer. Movember participants raise awareness by growing a moustache during the month of November (to "change the face" of cancer) and raise money through donations to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Livestrong Foundation. When asked about the possibility of the 'staches remaining past December 1st, both players were adamant with their response: Gone. Definitely.
The Raleigh Rescue Mission dinner kicks off a season-long community involvement initiative that will feature different Hurricanes players each month at a variety of events around the Triangle area. Stay tuned for news about the annual holiday shopping trips and hospital visits, followed by additional appearances throughout the season.
About the Raleigh Rescue Mission
The Raleigh Rescue Mission is a faith-based organization that has served the triangle for over 50 years, focusing on assistance for homeless and impoverished citizens. In addition to providing emergency overnight food and shelter, the Mission also provides rehabilitation, respite, mental health stabilization, outreach, and other vital services. According to Leslie Currin-Millett, Director of Public Relations, the Mission has space for over 100 overnight residents, and typically runs at capacity with a waiting list. They have a strong volunteer core going into the holiday season but are in need of essential items. For those interested in providing a contribution, here are a few ways you can help.
- Specific Thanksgiving-related non-perishable food items are in demand, including boxed stuffing mix, instant potatoes, canned corn and other vegetables, chicken broth and gravy. In addition to serving residents, the Mission also provides meals to other Raleigh residents through its "Gobbles to Go" program.
- Cold weather emergency assistance items such as blankets, coats, and gloves are always needed.
- Gift cards, such as those from WalMart or Sam's Club, that enable bulk purchasing are also appreciated.
For more information, visit the Raleigh Rescue Mission website: www.raleighrescue.org.
Photos from the event can be found here.