On Sunday, July 17, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson and his wife, Lindsey, along with the Jackson in Action 83 Foundation and the Buccaneers Women of RED, hosted their third annual Military Moms Baby Shower for 40 expecting or recently delivered military moms. The women invited were either themselves active duty military or the spouse/partner of an active duty soldier. Those attending are members of various commands at MacDill Air Force Base or Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater.
"As a military kid growing up I've seen so many great programs," Jackson said, "whether it's Wounded Warriors or Dinner with Deployment or PTSD and things like that. They are all great programs and we support them quite a bit ourselves. But I thought there was a bit of a niche that they were missing as far as what's going on at home when these things are going on and families are having to transition from the city to overseas, especially with the spouses and the kids - how are they being affected?
"Being a military kid and having a military family, knowing my dad had to go away for an extended period of time and how that affected us and our family and how helpful it would have been to have some support groups around our communities to really help us deal with those things. That's what we're here for."
The baby shower was hosted at Palma Ceia Golf & Country Club in Tampa and the military moms and dads enjoyed a morning full of camaraderie and support. In total, more than $87,000 in baby products were distributed to military families, including car seats, and strollers to total over $2,000 in merchandise for each mom. Raffle items and door prizes, including a crib with mattress and custom bedding sets were also part of the donations
In addition to the beautiful baby gifts, all of the women in attendance were welcomed into the Buccaneer's Women of RED movement. RED is the official Buccaneers fan engagement program for women. The goal for RED is to improve the fan experience and grow the community of passionate Buccaneers fans by offering a wide variety of interactive experiences, behind-the-scenes events and exclusive content.
"The Buccaneers Women of RED, are proud to be part of this great event that provides needed support to our military families," said Eileen Sweeney, the Buccaneers' Director of Community Relations. "These moms are frequently dealing with deployment and other challenges of military life, so we were happy to help give them a great day out, have them go home with carloads of needed baby supplies, and honor them for all they do."