Having established a reputation on the field as a tough, physical and sometimes nasty person, Jaguars Defensive Tackle and two-time Pro Bowl starter Marcus Stroud portrayed a more docile side recently when he kicked off the Marcus Stroud Foundation's Thanksgiving Holiday Shopping Spree Giveaway.
"It's a 'Shop Til You Drop' type of thing," said Stroud.
"Instead of passing out food, we're taking 15 families and we're going to take them shopping so they have the option of getting what they want and also have something to eat after Thanksgiving," he added.
The families were chosen from two Jacksonville community agencies: The I.M. Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless and the Salvation Army Northeast Florida Area Command.
Major James K. Seiler, Area Commander for the Salvation Army Northeast Florida Area Command said, "We're here to partner with the Marcus Stroud Foundation to provide Thanksgiving food for families in need.
"Some of the families came from our Salvation Army social service center, folks who we verified their need, and we're just pleased to be a partner to help provide to their needs," he added.
Stroud has done many things off the field in his interest in giving back to the community. "This event today allows me to put emphasis on stuff that I want to do, and it gives me the liberty to impact, reach out and touch other people," Stroud explained.
A few of Stroud's teammates, along with defensive line coach Ray Hamilton, were on hand to provide support and help the families shop.
"I'm here to support Marcus Stroud and the Marcus Stroud Foundation that gives back to the community," said Hamilton "It makes these families feel better about the holidays and feel like they have some hope."
"We're out here with Marcus taking part in his foundation, helping underprivileged families to give them an opportunity to have a better Thanksgiving," said running back Fred Taylor.
"This time of the year is special because it's the holidays and a lot of people don't have a whole lot, and we are in a position where we can help," Taylor added.
When the shopping spree was over the families walked through the check-out lanes with shopping baskets filled to the top. Each family was given a $200 gift card prior to the event.
Jaguars safety Deon Grant said, "We are here trying to help give these families inspiration and also make sure their Thanksgiving is blessed and that they have a good one."
The Marcus Stroud Foundation, established in 2005, is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting children who face significant physical, mental, and financial challenges in a single parent home.