The day before players report to Jaguars Training Camp 2005, one can only imagine what's going through their heads. Some are probably enjoying their last free day at home relaxing, or on a plane heading back into town, or maybe still on vacation.
That was not the case for Jaguars cornerback Kiwaukee Thomas. He spent the day getting in one more act of community outreach before the "lock-down" for the next three weeks.
He and his wife cleared out their garage filled with boxes of clothes, shoes, baby toys, and some household furniture like sofas, love seats, mattresses, and other household items to be donated to the I.M. Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless.
On the morning of Thursday, July 28th, Thomas pulled into the center's driveway with former Jaguars player David Young, now with the Houston Texans, and unloaded a U-Haul packed with boxes of items.
"We have a lot of things here for the kids…new suits for men heading out for interviews, shoes for women," said Thomas. "There's just so much here that I wanted to give to these people."
"Reggie Williams donated some of his suits, and other players from around the league donated items...some of their wives donated shoes and baby clothes," he added.
Thomas adopted the I.M. Sulzabcher Center for the Homeless as one of his community outreach organizations a couple of years ago. He also serves as the honorary chairman for their holiday card program.
The holiday card program began eight years ago as a way for the I.M. Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless to stay in touch with friends during the holiday season. It has grown into one of the center's most important fundraising events. The funds raised from sales of the card are turned into nights of shelter for many of Jacksonville's homeless men, women and children.
Jordan Boss, Chief Development Officer for the I.M. Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless said, "All of the items donated today have already been assigned to families and will be delivered today."
Rookie Chad Owens joined his new teammate at the shelter to lend a hand. "I'm just happy to be out here," said Owens. "It's all about giving back to the community."
"We have another load at the house to pick up," said Thomas. "It wasn't until I came over here for the first time that I realized so many people were without things and had no place to go…that's what made me want to give back even more."