Nov. 22, 2017
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State Buckeyes took time out of their preparations for Saturday’s clash against Michigan to participate in food and fellowship with 75 Columbus-area elementary school children along with members of the City of Columbus Police and Fire Departments.
The event was the result of an idea by Roy Hall and the Driven Foundation. At the same time, members of Ohio State’s leadership council had approached head coach Urban Meyer looking for ways to unify the community with those who serve and protect.
“The leaders went to Coach Meyer because they wanted to do something that would truly make an impact on people,” said Amy Halpin Nicol, who – along with members of the Driven Foundation – organized and planned the event.
Hall and Antonio Smith, teammates with the Buckeyes from 2003 through 2006, co-founded the Driven Foundation in 2008 and since then it has distributed approximately 500,000 pounds of free food to more than 4,200 Ohio families. Hall called the event the “first annual Ohio State football and Driven Foundation Thanksgiving brunch.” His organization also partners with the Buckeyes to put on a football camp each summer.
“The most important thing about today is to change the direction of the narrative that is so prevalent right now,” said Hall. “We can begin to show these kids that what you hear on the outside isn’t always reality. It’s important to understand that we’re one relationship away from realizing our dreams.”
The kids, players and coaches and police officers all enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving meal in addition to free time to play basketball, throw a football and play corn hole. After the meal, three of Ohio State’s captains – Chris Worley, Tracy Sprinkle and Jalyn Holmes – spoke to the crowd in addition to members of both the Ohio State University Police Department and Columbus Police. The children is attendance also had the opportunity to participate in a question-and-answer session with the players and police officers.
“An event like this provides us players with as much hope and joy as it does the kids,” said Worley. “I hope you all leave here with a better sense of all the good that police officers and law enforcement do every single day to keep us safe. We look forward to continuing this tradition.”
“Kids can see at any early age that we’re best when we’re together as one,” said Sprinkle. “This will help everybody in the long run to see that there’s really only one race – the human race.”