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Kraft, Patriots past & present help provide Thanksgiving

Posted by Shalise Manza Young, Globe Staff  November 24, 2010 07:20 AM

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kraft-goodwill.JPGIn case you hadn't heard, this is a busy week for the Patriots -- but several of them, as well as team owner Robert Kraft, wife Myra and numerous former players were at the Goodwill headquarters last night, helping to distribute Thanksgiving baskets for needy families.

The baskets, which each included a turkey and all the fixings, as well as some Patriots items, were given to over 200 families the Goodwill facility serves.

"This is a pretty special holiday," Robert Kraft said. "Especially in this economic climate, people are hurting. To get 220 families that we're able to give a full basket...and I can tell you, those turkeys are plump."

Joanne Hilferty, president and CEO of Goodwill, said the Thanksgiving in a basket tradition goes back over 70 years through the organization, and that the Patriots have been involved since the Krafts bought the team in 1994.

"It means so much, particularly to the kids. The baskets mean a lot to the families, but to see the light in the kids' eyes when they've met a Patriots player...Over the years, players have told me they benefited from this program, so it means a lot to them to give back," Hilferty said.

Current Patriots players Kevin Faulk, Leigh Bodden, Brandon McGowan, Stephen Gostkowski, Zoltan Mesko, Ross Ventrone and Steve Maneri were joined by a dozen alums including Andre Tippett, David Givens, Matt Chatham, Vernon Crawford, Tim Fox, Pete Brock and Ed Ellis.

Kraft said he isn't surprised by the surprising 8-2 start the young Pats are off to.

"They've executed beautifully; they seem to be playing more as a unit. It brings the point home that football is a complete team game -- all three parts of this team here have to perform for us to do well," he said.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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