MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The Miami Heat celebrated Thanksgiving a bit earlier this year and enjoyed it with hundreds of guests.
The Heat along with coaches and staffers ushered in the holiday with their 26th Annual Thanksgiving Celebration on Tuesday at the Miami Rescue Mission in the Wynwood area of Miami.
“This is Heat Nation, right here in our neighborhood,” said Miami Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra. “To be able to give back, it’s great to see. We are very privileged to be in the lives that we’re in.”
The block party was especially meaningful for a group of 600 underprivileged families that received a complete Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings.
On top of that, about 450 residents of the Miami Rescue Mission received hot meals.
“It’s awesome, especially who’s giving it to us – the Miami Heat. I’ve never had that happen before in my life,” said Mark Falkenberg who received one of the warm meals.
For Miami Heat player Udonis Haslem, giving back to the community is something personal to him.
“I was raised to always help others and that’s what the Heat does so it just falls in line with who I am as well,” said Haslem.
And it’s about giving back the love fans give to them.
“Showing love to a lot of these people who support us, people who don’t always have the opportunity to make it to the games, we get out, we get involved in the community and we show love back,” said Haslem.
To Patrice Seamster, it’s more than a warm meal.
“It just shows that people care about giving back,” she said.
Miami Heat Dancers and Burnie were also on hand to entertain families with special performances throughout the afternoon.
“Whether we’re winning or losing, this is so much more than that,” said Spoelstra. “To see the smiles on the families and kids faces, it makes your day.”