Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer signs autographs at the Phoenix Rescue Mission on Monday.
The holiday season brings great anticipation to the lives of children, as new gifts and tasty meals are prevalent over the next several weeks.
Carson Palmer's kids were indeed crossing dates off their calendar recently, but it wasn't Thanksgiving or Christmas that inspired the countdown. 'Tis the season for giving, and on Monday, the quarterback and his family joined members of the Cardinals' organization for the 16th annual 'Feed The Hungry' event at the Phoenix Rescue Mission.
The Cardinals served approximately 500 Thanksgiving dinners to people who may not have the means to purchase such a meal themselves. Palmer signed autographs and posed for pictures in between delivering the trays of food, while his kids enthusiastically brought out out silverware and other items.
"They're so eager to help out and jump in," Palmer said. "They were literally asking about it every day. They asked the same question every day, from each kid. 'It's three days away. It's two days away.' … Their eyes light up for an event like this, and that does make you proud as a father."
Team president Michael Bidwill and his sister, Nicole, were among those on hand, as well as tight end Troy Niklas, guard Earl Watford, long snapper Aaron Brewer, mascot Big Red and several others within the organization.
Michael Bidwill said it's essential to keep the less fortunate in mind during the holiday season, knowing the difficulties they face in what should be a joyous time.
"You see the number of families here," Bidwill said. "It's a little bit heartbreaking, but it also is a great reminder for people to focus on giving back to the community, especially this time of year. This is the 17th year we've done this, and so it's great to be back. I always feel like I get more out of it than I give. It's just a fantastic feeling."
It was a cheerful atmosphere, as the guests enjoyed the meals and the interactions with the Cardinals. Bidwill posed for numerous photos, and the players were happy to sign autographs for anyone who asked. Big Red kept the children in attendance entertained, as the Cardinals hoped to serve a night full of good memories that will last beyond the meal.
"Even though they're down on their luck, they're grateful to have us out," Bidwill said. "And I'm just grateful that we can give back to such a part of our community that's living on the edge here. A lot of families and people here are homeless or living paycheck-to-paycheck and this is all they've got it. This might be the only time they're eating a Thanksgiving meal this week. So we're happy we can do it."
Images of the Cardinals serving Thanksgiving meals at the Phoenix Rescue Mission on Monday