Empire Serve Up Food and Fellowship
Albany Empire gives back to the community on Easter Sunday
What do you do when you’re an Arena Football player in an unfamiliar town and you’re away from your family for Easter? You serve dinner at the local rescue mission, of course.
The Albany Empire made a connection with the community on Sunday afternoon when several members of the team volunteered at the Capital City Rescue Mission, a few blocks from where they’ll play their first game on April 14. Players and coaches from the team split the afternoon with the Albany Patroons basketball team serving meals to area residents.
“It’s a huge thing for us, not only as players and coaches, but as an organization,” said head coach Rob Keefe. “It’s the culture that has permeated down from top to bottom.”
“I think it’s very important for us to get engrained in this community,” added defensive coordinator Les Moss. “I think there’s no better way than to help people that may not be as fortunate as we are, especially on a holiday like this.”
Players had the opportunity to serve inside and outside of the dining area. DB Varmah Sonie helped some of his teammates plate food in the front, while WR Doug McNeil assisted washing dishes in the back.
“It’s all about giving back,” said Sonie. “I’ve always been one of those guys who’s given back to my community and being out here is no different in just trying to help out the less fortunate and be a blessing to them.”
“I’m just blessed to be a blessing,” said McNeil. “If it wasn’t here in Albany, I’d be trying to do the same things in Baltimore, being able to know that you are a part of something big.”
Capital City Rescue Mission executive director Perry Jones was especially appreciative of the Empire’s willingness to serve on a busy holiday.
“Today was an awesome help for us and for the community,” said Jones.
“They love to play, but they love to serve people.”
Ryan McCarthy has been an on-and-off Internet columnist and blogger since 1997. He has been an avid follower of Arena Football since 1990 when the Albany Firebirds were established. Ryan currently attends Regent University, where he is pursuing his Bachelors degree in Communications with a Journalism concentration. He anticipates graduating toward the end of 2019. You can follow Ryan on Twitter at @rwhoisryanmcc