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Blocking and tackling on Thanksgiving for a cause

The annual Thanksgiving tradition of a football game in the yard isn’t just a family affair for a community in Sarver.

According to an article by Eagle reporter William Pitts on the cover of Monday’s edition, It’s also not just about football.

It started a few years ago with a smattering of children who wanted to play football in Dave and Jennie Kane’s backyard on Thanksgiving Day.

By 2022, the Turkey Bowl had grown into an annual event that brings together dozens of families to The Oaks neighborhood for outdoor fun — and a good cause.

“It’s so cool how this evolved from an impromptu football game into a charity event everyone looks forward to every year,” said Michelle Paga, one of the event’s organizers.

More players means more donations, and the old saying “the more the merrier” comes to mind.

Organizations this time of year go into overdrive to pull together food for those in need.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 12.8% of U.S. households were food insecure at some time during 2022.

That in mind, to play in the Turkey Bowl, players are asked to bring at least five cans of nonperishable food for donation for local food pantries.

According to Michael Paga, Michelle’s husband, this practice began four years ago.

“Most people are generous and bring more,” Michael Paga said. “We collect any nonperishable food items and aren’t picky about what we receive. We are always very appreciative of every donation we receive, and I know the food bank is, too.”

This year, the food donations will be taken to Highlands Family Center in Tarentum, which provides family support and childhood development services in Allegheny County.

“We load up the donations into Dave Kane’s truck, and the Kane boys and Paga boys help to drop off the goods,” Michael Paga said. “It’s such an awesome feeling to bring the community together while helping families in need.”

This, of course, means young football players are learning lessons about the importance of helping those in need.

We applaud the organizers of the Turkey Bowl. Any opportunity to bring together a community for some fun and bring together donations for a good cause is welcome.

— RJ

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