The Monday following the Eagles game, the rookie Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and rookie Dallas Cowboys players visited The Salvation Army Mabee Social Service Center in Fort Worth. A long-time annual Cowboys tradition, the rookies served an early Thanksgiving meal to the less fortunate.
Before the Dallas Cowboys play on Thanksgiving Day, some of the cheerleaders reflected on their time at The Salvation Army, and what this early Thanksgiving meal meant to them.
"The morning we spent serving at The Salvation Army Early Thanksgiving proved humbling and rewarding. It is so easy to get caught up in the stresses of personal and DCC life! Getting this opportunity brought an enlightening perspective. One that you don't appreciate until you are face to face with people who say to you, 'Can I please have tea? It's not every day we get something besides water.
I truly valued every connection I made during this event. We got to ring in Ayela's (early) 4th birthday, and one girl made it a point to give a hug to every cheerleader while we were there! I can still picture the look of excitement Kevin had when I told him that his favorite player, Michael Gallup, was there and would sign his placemat for him.
Everyone we served expressed nothing but joy, happiness, and gratitude... and a whole lot of love for America's Team." -Bridget
"On Veterans Day, I had the opportunity to attend the Early Thanksgiving Meal at Fort Worth's Salvation Army Mabee Social Service Center, along with my fellow rookies of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and the rookie players of the Dallas Cowboys. Upon our arrival, we put on our aprons and got to work, serving Thanksgiving meals to less fortunate men, women, and children from the DFW area. Once lunch was served, we went from table to table meeting the attendees. I had the honor of speaking with one gentleman who proudly wore a hat displaying his time in the military. He made me think about my own grandfather who is a veteran of the U.S. Navy. This encounter truly brought significance to the day and reminded me that although we were serving the food, we must thank and pay tribute to the men and women that serve our country every day. Though the weather was gloomy and the players had had little sleep following their impressive win against the Philadelphia Eagles only hours before, there was nothing but joy, positivity, and happiness flowing from every person at the Center. Opportunities such as these in which we get to give back to the amazing community that we live in are what make our job so special. Being a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader and having the privilege to be a part of an organization that truly values the community's well-being as much as it values a winning game makes the Dallas Cowboys world-class. I am so thankful to share in this tradition of celebrating an early Thanksgiving with the community, and it filled me with gratitude for my own loved ones, as well." -Daphne
"I am so thankful I was able to take part in the Salvation Army Early Thanksgiving! I loved working with the rookie Cowboys players, and seeing how great the impact the Cowboys organization has on the community. My favorite moment was chatting with a super sweet woman and her 3 children. We laughed, smiled, and talked about their favorite foods, Thanksgiving traditions, and family. As a rookie, I am still learning so much about being a cheerleader. This experience reminded me how important a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader can be for the community, and how simple it can be to make someone feel loved and appreciated. It was an experience I will always treasure." -Madeline M.
"Wow, what an amazing experience spreading some holiday cheer at The Salvation Army in Fort Worth to serve an early Thanksgiving meal! Seeing all the smiling faces from the children and adults made our days. It's events and moments like these that show the true power and magic of the star. Although game days are one of our favorite parts of the job, it's days like the one we had at The Salvation Army that remind us we stand for so much more than cheerleading. For us, it's so easy to be trapped in the DCC bubble and personal schedules of practice, work, and other things life likes to throw at us. But it's appearances like this that bring us back down to earth and puts life in perspective. What an honor it is to be able to represent the Cowboys organization, and to be able to interact with the Dallas Fort-Worth community. Thank you to The Salvation Army for allowing us to be a part of special moments like this! We all left with full tummies and full hearts that day!" -Gabby
"My experience at The Salvation Army Early Thanksgiving was nothing short of amazing! Being able to work alongside the organization rather than sending in things to help was such a rewarding moment. Upon arrival, we had a quick discussion of how it all works then we were able to dive right in. The best parts for me were seeing the kids and families' faces light up in appreciation of having visitors. The families were so excited to connect with us and talk about anything! One of my favorite conversations included simply sharing what foods we like to eat and cook and finding that we all had some preferences in common. This experience just goes to show that the little things are what is important. Making someone else smile, and even the simplest connection or common interest, can go a long way. Not only was I able to bring joy to someone's day but they also successfully brought joy to mine! I love that this movement is faith based and dedicated to "Doing the Most Good" because they are surely achieving their goals with programs like this one! Time definitely flies by when you're enjoying others — I'd love to do it again, any day!" -Ashlee