BUFFALO, NY – Conversations began Saturday night between Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane, coach Sean McDermott, owners Kim and Terry Pegula, executive vice president of Pegula Sports and Entertainment Ron Raccuia, captains of team and other members of the organization.
After a racist attack at Tops Friendly Markets on Saturday that killed 10 people and injured three others, the Bills knew they wanted to help in some way beyond donating money and words. kind.
As a team, the Bills met Monday in person to have tough conversations about what to do next.
This led to supporting the community on Wednesday.
“The Buffalo community, they think highly of the Buffalo Bills, and so it’s our job and our role to be here for the community, to be here and to be reachable, to be able to have those conversations,” said the running back and special said the teams captain, Taiwan Jones. “And at a time like this, the most important thing is just to show love. So, we wanted to come here and just love people, show people that we care about you, that we feel for you. you.”
Bills players, coaches, front desk and other staff, along with members of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabers and the National Lacrosse League’s Buffalo Bandits, came to the neighborhood in buses tourist. They wore black T-shirts that read “Choose love.” They left bouquets of flowers at a shrine, served Chicken Alfredo to 750 people with the help of local chef Darian Bryan and World Central Kitchen, and handed out groceries.
“The only thing we’re interested in…I kind of liken it to one game at a time, like we’re here for our community and that’s it,” quarterback Josh Allen said. “And if people want to look at that and find ways to be enlightened or take action where they see that and they want to start taking action in their communities, I think that can work. But right now we we’re just here for our community and that’s it. That’s all that matters to us right now.
There were about 50 players in attendance and some, like wide receiver Stefon Diggs, flew to Buffalo specifically to show their support. Jones was one of the main organizers of the effort through a relationship with Candles In The SUN, a nonprofit organization.
“Buffalo is, honestly, my first home,” tackle Dion Dawkins said. “It’s the place where I first bought a house, started raising a family. … It affected all of us, some more than others, but an event like this it’s affected everyone to a height that I really can’t explain And again just being here for the community, which is our community, is where the growth aid.
“It’s going to take brick by brick to rebuild it, because we had someone who was targeting a community, a neighborhood of African Americans. That’s really where the harm is. And the fact that some people lost loved ones. And that’s just amazing.”
Players and staff were taking part in the team’s off-season training program, and McDermott expressed pride in the number of players who were there. Whether it’s Allen serving pasta, the rookies on the team helping cut the food, or the band just talking with the community, the impact has been felt. Traffic slowed next to the site to catch a glimpse of the group which brought some smiles to a devastated community.
The Bills said it was just the beginning.
“This is something that all of us, Bills included, the whole community, we need to continue to rally around all of the affected families,” Beane said. “The national media is here for now, but there’s going to be another story soon. It’s up to us and we plan to lead the charge. It’s not going to leave people’s lives in a month or a year. It’s a lasting thing, and we have to do our part.”
“…At a time like this, the most important thing is just to show love. So we wanted to come here and just love people, show people that we care about you, that we feel for you.”
Jones added: “We’re here to listen to what we need to do. We have an open ear to hear from the community how we can help. What we know is we need to be here, we need to show up. So , it’s easy for us to be here. The hardest part, as you said, is thinking of a long-term plan for the future.”
In addition to the physical presence, the Buffalo Bills Foundation, associated with the NFL Foundation, announced a donation of $400,000 on Wednesday. The money will go to the Buffalo Together Community Response Fund and various nonprofit organizations working on emergency response efforts.
“It’s hard to find the words to say it, and I don’t know if there’s anything you can say to help someone who’s uncomfortable about something like this, other than saying, ‘I’m here for you. I hear you. I’m listening, and if there’s any way you can help, let me know because I’m ready to do it,'” Allen said. . “Just being there so they can lean on when they need it. Again, that’s a microcosm of what our community needs right now and that’s why we’re here today.” today.”