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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Throwing the Rope Back

Derrick Brooks brought holiday cheer to 300 families in Tampa and his hometown of Pensacola, and hoped to inspire others in both communities to do the same


LB Derrick Brooks expanded his Thanksgiving efforts to his hometown of Pensacola this year, helping families devastated by Hurricane Ivan

This week, as he has many times before, Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Derrick Brooks took some time to throw the rope back and help those who are less fortunate.

After attending meetings at team headquarters during the day, Brooks spent the Monday night before Thanksgiving at two local Boys & Girls Clubs in Tampa, handing out turkey dinners to families whose children attend the clubs. He then traveled upstate to Pensacola, where he brightened the holidays for several families in need the next morning. All told, with the help of Winn-Dixie supermarkets, Brooks distributed food to a total of 300 families on Monday, helping the citizens of two different towns celebrate the spirit of Thanksgiving.

In Tampa, Brooks provided a turkey and all the traditional trimmings to 50 families each at the Wilbert Davis and Ybor City Boys & Girls Clubs. It's part of a long-running holiday tradition for the Pro Bowl linebacker, one he treasures immeasurably.

"I thank God for the opportunity to give back during the holidays," said Brooks. "This is something that Derrick Brooks Charities has been involved with for awhile, so we feel like it's just a part of us to be able to give Thanksgiving dinners out to these families."

'Throwing the rope back' is a term Brooks often uses for the charitable work in which he participates. He feels blessed by his prominent position in the community and he believes it his duty to help others who are less fortunate. Brooks also realizes that his community work draws attention, and he hopes that it will inspire others to throw the rope back to citizens who could use a helping hand.

Members of Brooks' Bunch, a group of kids from the local Boys & Girls Clubs whom Brooks mentors, were on hand to help families get their food baskets to their cars and wish them a Happy Thanksgiving. Brooks hoped that their participation in the project would help instill similar values.

"This year it was special," he said. "I had members of the Brooks' Bunch helping out, so the message is being sent."

On Tuesday morning, Brooks was at it again, this time in his hometown of Pensacola. The city was ravaged by Hurricane Ivan and members of the community are still trying to recover from the devastation left behind.

Brooks handed out 200 Thanksgiving dinners to families whose children or other relatives are associated with the Boys & Girls Club of Escambia County.

"This was our first year in Pensacola doing this," said Brooks. "It comes at a very good time for us. As I stand here, Pensacola is still recovering from the hurricanes."

Brooks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers recently raised over $45,000 for victims of Hurricane Ivan. To make a donation towards relief for hurricane victims, please visit and click on the media tab.

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