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Touchdowns 4 Turkeys: MU football, Kroger team up for local food bank

December 14, 2018

HUNTINGTON — If you know football, it’s no secret that when a team reaches the end zone, it is awarded six points.

For the Marshall Thundering Herd football team, each score this year was valued at six points and 10 turkeys because of a program called Touchdowns 4 Turkeys — a three-way partnership among Kroger, Facing Hunger Foodbank and the Marshall University football team.

Marshall players and athletic department representatives presented Facing Hunger Foodbank with 410 turkeys, donated by Kroger, on Thursday morning to be distributed to its local partners in an effort to help the hungry have a nutritious meal for the holidays.

The Herd scored 41 touchdowns in its 12 regular-season games. Herd senior running back Anthony Anderson had the shortest of those — 1-yard touchdown runs on four different occasions — and wide receiver Marcel Williams caught the longest touchdown of the season so far when freshman quarterback Isaiah Green hit him in stride on the way to an 82-yard touchdown reception against N.C. State.

“Facing Hunger is proud to partner with Marshall and Kroger in such a creative program,” Executive Director Cynthia Kirkhart said. “The turkeys will be distributed to soup kitchens, food pantries, churches and recovery centers in the Tri-State region through our usual distribution practices, and we know this will contribute to our support to thousands of hungry people.”

Allison McGee, corporate affairs manager for Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic Division, said the Touchdowns 4 Turkeys concept stems from the company’s Zero Hunger/Zero Waste initiative focused on ending hunger and waste in local communities and stores by 2025. McGee added that Kroger is always looking for fun and creative ways to chip away at hunger.

“The goals of Marshall University football go beyond wins and losses on the field. Our program has always been committed to serving the community,” coach Doc Holliday said. “The opportunity to work together with Kroger and Facing Hunger in such an important initiative is a perfect fit for our team.”

After presenting the turkeys, Marshall players helped fill backpacks for kids and food boxes for seniors from Facing Hunger’s warehouse. Kirkhart extended her thanks to the players for volunteering during such a busy time of the year. After all, it is finals week for Marshall students and the team is one week out from facing the University of South Florida in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl at Raymond James Stadium on Dec. 20 in Tampa, Florida.

“It’s a busy time, but we’re never too busy to give back to people who don’t have what you have. I didn’t grow up too fortunate myself, so for me to come back and help other people through hard times, it’s a blessing,” Green said. “Whenever I receive something, I want to give something in return.”

Green appeared in nine games and threw for 15 touchdowns in the regular season.

In continuing Touchdowns 4 Turkeys, Kroger will donate an additional 10 turkeys for every touchdown Marshall scores in the upcoming bowl game, something Green said will serve as extra motivation to perform at a high level next Thursday.

Facing Hunger Foodbank is a nonprofit organization founded in 1983 that serves 248 agencies across 17 counties in the Tri-State region, distributing more than 3 million pounds of donated food annually.

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