By JUSTIN RAINS
Former Palestine Wildcat great and current NFL All-Pro Adrian Peterson returned to Palestine Tuesday, but instead of carrying a football, he carried boxes of food.
Peterson and his “all day” Foundation presented 300 food boxes to families in need Tuesday at the Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church.
“This is my roots, where I came from,” Peterson said. “That’s my main purpose, just to give back and help communities.”
At times Tuesday, the line for the boxes — which included a turkey and other Thanksgiving-type items — snaked around the church building.
Nelson Peterson, the vice president of the “all day” Foundation, said all the items in the boxes were bought locally. He said the foundation not only wanted to help out families in need, but also local businesses.
“There are families that...Thanksgiving passes them by because they can’t afford to get turkeys and things like that,” Adrian Peterson said. “That was on my mind, and being in the position I’m in, I had to come back and bless some people.”
Recipients of the boxes were pre-screened by the foundation and received vouchers that they presented to receive their boxes.
When he wasn’t helping people take their items to their cars, Adrian Peterson was signing autographs, taking pictures and talking to fans, friends and family who came to the event to catch a glimpse of the star.
This was the second event the foundation hosted in the past six months that distributed food to needy families.
Peterson and his foundation also distributed food boxes in Grapeland June 11 before his appearance at Palestine’s Adrian Peterson Day festivities at Reagan Park.
After his graduation from Palestine High School in 2003, Peterson starred at the University of Oklahoma before being drafted in the first round of the 2007 NFL draft by the Vikings.
“Before I grew up, all the people here in Palestine supported me along the way, from pee-wee league on up,” Peterson said. “It feels good to come back and see the smiles I’ve put on people’s faces. To hear the people I grew up with tell me how proud they are of me and how I make them proud to be from Palestine.”
Sports editor Justin Rains can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org