TAMPA, Fla. - As many Tampa-area residents prepare to gather around the table with family members or close friends on Thanksgiving, roughly one-third of Hillsborough County Fire Rescue's firefighters are preparing to spend the holiday away from their own loved ones, working long shifts responding to emergencies.
For the fourth year, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Mike Alstott is helping make the holiday brighter, providing donated Thanksgiving dinner groceries for all 46 Hillsborough County Fire Rescue stations. Firefighters will then use the provisions to prepare a feast for themselves at firehouses across the county.
"Because firefighters working a shift on a holiday spend the day away from their families, the crews often celebrate holidays together with their fire family," a Mike Alstott Family Foundation spokesman said in an announcement. "These meals are made even more special when the fire crew does not have to go out and shop for the Thanksgiving groceries."
Alstott arrived in his pickup shortly before 8 a.m. Wednesday at Hillsborough County Fire Rescue headquarters to deliver and unload the groceries before sorting and packing the supplies with help from a new recruit class.
From there, crews will arrive to pick up the dinners and take them back to their fire stations ahead of the holiday. The supplies include turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables, gravy, and pie.
The distribution continues on Monday, Nov. 21 when the nonprofit delivers meals to all 14 St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue Stations, Treasure Island Fire Department, both St. Pete Beach Fire Stations, all three Lealman Fire Stations, all four Pinellas Park Fire Stations, The South Pasadena Fire Department, The Gulfport Fire Department, all four Seminole Fire Rescue Stations, and The Madeira Beach Fire Department.