Running back Jason Wright shares a laugh with a diner Monday while the Cards took part in the "Feed The Hungry" event at Phoenix Rescue Mission.
Just the day before, Kurt Warner had suffered a blow to the head and was dealing with concussion-like symptoms.
But there he was Monday afternoon, working with a bunch of teammates at the Phoenix Rescue Mission for the Cardinals' annual "Feed The Hungry" event, lifting boxes and passing out food. Whatever injury he had suffered, it wasn't going to keep him from doing what was needed.
"It's doesn't take much brainpower to serve," Warner said. "Anybody and everybody can serve, and that's what this is about."
The Cardinals had a large turnout in the Mission's small cafeteria. Nine players joined Warner – Matt Ware, Jerheme Urban, Stephen Spach, Brian St. Pierre, Jason Wright, Mike Leach, Justin Green, Herman Johnson and Trevor Canfield. Also on hand were team president Michael Bidwill, Alice Whisenhunt, Nicole Bidwill, many of the players' wives, Big Red and some cheerleaders.
Nicole Pena, the Mission's director of outreach, said many who visit the shelter had been asking since August what day the Cardinals would be visiting.
"The homeless typically think of themselves as invisible," Pena said. "This event is important because it makes them really feel like somebody cares about them. That the Cardinals, in the middle of this winning season, would show up and serve them, it makes them feel like a part of the community."
Michael Bidwill said he talked to one young child whose mother was in the hospital. Instead of being down, the kid worked multiplication tables with Bidwill and had a one-on-one conversation with Ware.
"Every year we come out, I always feel like I get more out of it than I put in," Bidwill said. "I just encourage all of our fans to get out there and spend a little bit of time giving back."
Warner said he'd like to see the needy get more out of the afternoon than just a meal. The quarterback is always anxious to use his history as a way to encourage others in difficult situations.
"Why so many people gravitate to in my story is I have been in so many different circumstances where it didn't look like it was going to work out, that there wasn't a plan or a purpose, and God was able to use that and do something special," Warner said. "That's my message."
Wright, who attended with his wife Tiffany, is in his first year with the Cardinals. He said he was thrilled to see the dinner on the Cardinals' list of community events, and lives by the belief those who are fortunate with good jobs and good salaries should be giving back as much as possible.
Wright not only served food, but during lulls sat down at a table and engaged some of the diners in conversation.
"You hear their story and people become less of that guy on the corner or less of a statistic and they become a real person," Wright said, noting that helping others "is what is right."
"That's the best way to put it. It's what is right."
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