Former Dallas Cowboys standouts Drew Pearson and Raghib "Rocket" Ismail teamed up with the Salvation Army to give away boxed fans, water bottles, and USDA groceries at the Salvation Army Pleasant Grove Corps Community Center Thursday.
The former Dallas receivers, along with Dallas police officers, gave away personal protective equipment, including hand sanitizer, at the site, which was also distributing U.S. Census 2020 forms and providing free COVID-19 testing.
Ismail enjoyed one of the rare outings since the pandemic began because it gave him a chance to "practice what you preach."
"One of the cool things I like about the Dallas Cowboys being my last team is that I will literally get maybe two or three emails with opportunities every month, as a former player, to volunteer some place in the community," Ismail said. "So, the Cowboys are locked in. Dallas police are locked in. So, it's like anybody that has a need and you're able to assist in some way, lighten a burden, that's what today means."
Pearson, who won a Super Bowl with the Cowboys at the end of the 1977 season in Super Bowl XII, was appreciative of the opportunity to work with two organizations he admires, the Salvation Army and the Dallas Police Department.
"I also wanted to come support the Dallas Police," Pearson said.
Christina Cavalier, Salvation Army of North Texas senior director of community relations, appreciated the partnership between the Cowboys and the local police.
"The Cowboys are such amazing partners for us," Cavalier said. "They supported us in so many ways, and it means a lot to us and the people who are visiting the food pantry to see that they are serving."
According to Cavalier, the Salvation Army of North Texas has 13 drive-thru pantries throughout North Texas where they are serving food to 10,000 people per week. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Salvation Army of North Texas has served over two million pounds of food in the five-county area alone. They have also provided over 60,000 nights of shelter, Cavalier says.
Reliant Energy and Westlake ACE Hardware provided the box fans, which are also being distributed to the 13 pantries in North Texas.
Pearson and Ismail enjoyed their interactions with the Salvation Army clients, even though temperatures were approaching 99 degrees.
"My thing is more encouraging instead of lifting," Pearson said. "I'm a little more smarter than that, but Rocket, he's a little younger than me. So, he's taking a lead with his daughters loading up the cars and stuff like that. I'm just moving them in, moving them out, just like 'Rawhide.'"
Helping direct traffic in the parking lot at the Pleasant Grove Corps Community Center reminded Ismail of being a veteran in practice.
"The young guys would always come to me for direction and insight, and it was like I had that same feeling over again. Any place I could fit in, whether it was directing traffic, helping fans, making sure that the cars had everything they needed before they left, making sure they left in a way that was safe and not running into each other, that's how it felt out there today."
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