Calais Campbell walked carefully and steadily to the tables around Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse in Chandler on Monday night, with salad plates lining his long arms and a black apron covering his shirt and tie.
Campbell wasn’t about to drop anything. Not on this night.
Campbell welcomed about a dozen of his Cardinals teammates, who donned their own aprons as celebrity servers for Campbell’s second-annual CRC Foundation Fundraising Dinner.
More than 200 guests dined on steak or salmon with a variety of side dishes served up by the Cardinals, including
“This is one organization that we really work together,” Campbell said. “I have so many great teammates and lot of the guys, you ask them once and they have no complaints. They’re there for you and they have your back. That’s what a team’s all about.”
The event was hosted by former Saturday Night Live cast member and fellow Miami Hurricane football player Finesse Mitchell, and a local band performed throughout the evening. Just a week after his own charity dinner, Fitzgerald joined Campbell in raising money for the United Way as well as the foundation.
“It’s a lot easier doing it from this side,” Fitzgerald joked. “It’s great to be able to come in and be a piece of the puzzle.”
Campbell’s foundation helps feed families around the holidays and is focused on bettering the lives of children. It awarded its first scholarship this year and plans on handing out more in the coming years. Campbell also announced plans to build a development center, which will give kids a place to go after school.
“We’ve got big plans and big goals,” Campbell said.
That’s just how his coach wants it.
“One of the things we talk about with our players is not only is it important to be a good football player but it is also important what they do in the community,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “When you see the way that Calais works at that component of it you’re more than happy to try to support him in this because it means so much to the team and it means so much to the fans and the community.”
Defensive tackle Dan Williams has been participating in his teammates’ fundraisers for the past three years, and to him, they help the Cardinals grow closer.
“It’s kind of like off-the-field bonding,” he said. “Just want your teammates to know that you support them on and off the field. And it’s always great.”