Tight end Alex Shor (49) and quarterback Kurt Warner (13) take part in Tuesday's "Help Feed The Hungry" dinner at Phoenix Rescue Mission.
Like any good quarterback, Kurt Warner took charge.
He walked into the dining hall of the Phoenix Rescue Mission Tuesday evening and began directing his teammates – receiver Jerheme Urban, tackle Elliot Vallejo, quarterback Brian St. Pierre and tight end Alex Shor – on the areas that needed serving.
It only made sense, with the Cardinals taking part in their annual "Help Feed The Hungry" Thanksgiving holiday dinner.
"It was a little bit like that," Warner said with a smile. "Some guys haven't been here before, and this has become an annual thing for us, we know the people down here, so we just wanted to get as many people in as possible and bless them on this evening."
Nicole Bidwill, Big Red, a couple of cheerleaders, a few staff members and various family members – including Warner's wife Brenda and the daughters and nephew of general manager Rod Graves – were also on hand to help.
The event was a week early, since the Cardinals have to travel to Philadelphia next week early to play the Eagles Thanksgiving night.
But that didn't change the mood of those in need, many of whom showed up to the meal dressed in some sort of Cardinal gear.
"Sometimes you are amazed because you know the difficult situations these people are in, yet they have followed us, telling us how good we are doing or they would love to see us beat this team or that team," Warner said.
The mission's director of outreach, Nicole Pena, said the economic downturn has increased the homeless populations, making an event like Tuesday that much more important.
"This is really about hope," Pena said. "People that could go and do anything they wanted to right now, because they are having a great season, and they chose to come here and serve the homeless and the hurting."
Some of Warner's children were on hand, passing out sweatshirts with Warner's Foundation, First Things First, emblazoned on the front.
"A lot of people we deal with have been told they are worthless most of their lives," Pena said. "To have Kurt Warner come up and serve you a plate of food, that really touches your heart."
Warner began coming to the Rescue Mission in 2005, as soon as he came to the Cardinals.
"You know you are impacting lives by coming down and doing this," Warner said. "As professional athletes, we complain a lot about the lifestyles we have, and this keeps it in perspective. The bottom line is, the (players) in there, they say we are here for a bigger purpose."
Contact Darren Urban at firstname.lastname@example.org. Posted 11/19/08.