Ward, Haden distribute turkeys

Posted Nov 20, 2012

Cleveland Browns defensive backs T.J. Ward and Joe Haden distributed turkeys at the St. Augustine Church and Hunger Center on Tuesday morning.

Strong safety T.J. Ward and cornerback Joe Haden have teamed up to help the Cleveland Browns’ secondary since they were selected in the first two rounds of the 2010 NFL Draft. On Tuesday morning, they again teamed up, but this time, it was to fight hunger in the city of Cleveland.

Ward and Haden joined with local radio personality, Mark “Munch” Bishop, and helped donate and carve more than 250 turkeys to those in need at the St. Augustine’s Church and Hunger Center. It marked the second straight year in which Ward and Haden have worked with the St. Augustine’s Church and Hunger Center.

“It means a lot for us to come out here and give back, see the smiles on people’s faces,” Ward said. “We’re in a situation where we’re fortunate to be where we are. Anytime we have the opportunity to give back and to see other people with smiles on their faces, it feels so good. It feels better than a lot of things.

“The money, all that other stuff, it really doesn’t matter during this time. It’s the holiday season. People are supposed to be with their families, their loved ones, their friends and that’s what it’s all about. It’s all about being together, coming together and helping each other.”

Haden and Ward combined their efforts with the St. Augustine’s Church and Hunger Center’s 23rd straight year of providing the Cleveland community with food and shelter throughout the holiday season. The St. Augustine’s Church and Hunger Center serve 12,000 meals on Thanksgiving day and aid more than 5,000 homebound citizens in the Cleveland community.

The St. Augustine’s Church and Hunger Center collected more than 4,000 turkeys, 5,000 pounds of food and $8,000 for the less fortunate last year.

“It means a lot to be fortunate to be in this position and give back,” Haden said. “I rarely get to see these fans. They’re die-hard, just like everybody else. Coming out here and giving them turkeys at this event is a big deal.”

Tuesday’s event was a kickoff to a busy week for Ward and Haden. Both players will host family members on Thursday for Thanksgiving.

“Being there with my family is the most important thing,” Ward said. “I spent one Thanksgiving without them; I think it was in college. It wasn’t the same at all. Just having my family, whether it’s my aunties, my parents, my brother, my sisters, whoever, (it’s about) having some family with me. This year, I’ve got family coming to town. My auntie’s here right now. My parents will be in later and that’s just what it is. They’re cooking and getting ready to get it going. We’ve got practice that day, but afterwards, I get to spend the rest of the day with them.”

Haden added, “It’s always nice just being around my brothers. I’ve got four younger brothers and my mom and dad have been with me my whole life. We’re really family-oriented and it’s going to be the same thing as always. Everybody’s going to come up here and we’re just going to have a good time, eat some turkey, watch some football.”

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