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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Family Gathering

Away from his own extended family, Keenan McCardell found 50 local residents in need and shared his Thanksgiving with them


WR Keenan McCardell and his wife, Nicole, help serve up a delicious Thanksgiving dinner to some area families in need

Thanksgiving Day is often spent with extended family. Maybe it's dinner at Grandma's or a get-together at your place, but if you've got relatives in the area you're probably going to see them.

Keenan McCardell's family lives in Houston, Texas, which meant the Tampa Bay Buccaneers receivers was likely to enjoy a quiet Thanksgiving dinner with just his wife and three daughters. Of course, that's not such a bad idea, either.

McCardell had another idea, however.

Since he couldn't spend the holiday with his own extended family, McCardell decided he would simply extend his Tampa family. That's how dinner for five became dinner for 55. On this special Thanksgiving, McCardell partnered with the Hillsborough County Department of Health and Social Services to select homeless families and invite them to share a Thanksgiving meal at Pipos Latin Café.

The result was one of the best holiday dinners anyone in attendance had ever experienced.

"It feels great," said Danny Martinez of Pipos Latin Café. "We are so blessed. To be able to feed 50 people that need some help is a great thing. It's just the best."

As the selected families arrived at Pipos, they entered the patio, took their seats and ordered their drinks. McCardell and his wife, Nicole, stopped at every table and introduced themselves and their three daughters, Keandra, Nia and Makeeya.

After everyone had time to mingle, McCardell officially welcomed them all to dinner and invited them to come to the food line and dig in.

Keenan, Nicole and Keandra helped serve their guests as they came through the line. On the menu was turkey, ham, roast pork, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans and beans and rice.

As dinner came to a close, the guests were greeted with the wonderful aroma of fresh baked apple, pecan and sweet potato pies.

"I think that it's very lovely," said Sarah, one of Keenan's guests. " What they are doing is very unique and very nice, it's just been a great day."

And as with all good things, the gathering soon came to an end, but not before McCardell passed out autographed pennants for all of those in attendance. Meanwhile, the staff at Pipos was busy putting to-go boxes together for all of McCardell's guests.

"It made me feel good to provide this meal for everybody," said McCardell. "I had the chance to see a lot of smiles on a lot of faces, not just from the kids, but from the parents as well. It just made me feel good and I'm just thankful for the opportunity to give back to some people."

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