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Penn State Defensive Linemen Deliver Turkey Donations to State College Food Bank

by on November 22, 2017 12:05 AM

Penn State football's defensive linemen turned this season's quarterback sacks into an effort to sack hunger.

The "Wild Dogs" and defensive line coach Sean Spencer on Tuesday delivered a donation of 68 turkeys and 100 pounds of potatoes -- nearly half a ton of food in total -- to State College Food Bank for Thanksgiving food distributions.

"It’s important for us to share our wealth and sense of giving with the community by making sure we’re giving back to people with less than us," Spencer said. "I grew up as an underprivileged kid so I knew the importance of that. It’s not that I didn’t have a turkey but it was a struggle for my mother to feed a big family. If you can do something special like this to help out the community it’s worth it."

The donation was a partnership with the Student Book Store, which sells the official "Wild Dogs" (the nickname for the Penn State D-linemen) T-shirts. 

"It’s really not about making money, selling those shirts. It’s just giving fans an opportunity to have some gear that our guys have," Spencer said. "So I said I’d like to take the proceeds from that and make some kind of donation."

SBS owner John Lindo came up with the idea of sacks-for-turkeys and Spencer said they would donate no fewer than 50 turkeys. With a season sack total of 34 to date, they doubled it to come up with 68.

"It really makes a major impact on us and the clients we serve," said Carol Pioli, executive director of State College Food Bank. "We serve approximately 716 unique families, and on average that comes out to about 400 Thanksgiving distributions. If you take 400 Thanksgiving distributions, that means we need 400 turkeys. This will make a really big impact."

Pioli added that having groups like Penn State football and SBS make a donation sends a valuable message.

"It helps because it makes everybody see that work together as a team," she said. "Everybody sees the impact giving has on people that are a little less fortunate."

Allayn Beck, Food Bank business manager, said donations are especially helpful heading into the holiday season.

"We can always use donations and it’s very helpful this time of year," Beck said. "If people want to give they should definitely check our website. We have our current needs posted there and that gets updated quite regularly. Those will all make a big difference."

Spencer, meanwhile, said the effort benefited not only the Food Bank, but his players as well.

"I told my kids when they’re in a position to effect change, they should do it," Spencer said. "So it’s just trying to teach them a lesson and in turn be helpful to the community."

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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