INDIANAPOLIS— As the snowflakes continued to fall outside of Lucas Oil Stadium on Tuesday morning, the cars kept on pulling up and the smiles never ceased.
The beaming faces were the result of the Colts and U.S. Foods teaming up with Lucas Oil Products and Meijer to distribute 2,000 Thanksgiving meals to Indianapolis families in need.
"At U.S. Foods, we believe in keeping kitchens cooking and as a result of this wonderful partnership with the Colts, to be able to provide full Thanksgiving meals for 2,000 area families who may be in need, there will be a lot of kitchens cooking this holiday season who otherwise may not have that opportunity," Kurt Cummings, President of U.S. Foods said on Tuesday.
This was the second-year for the "Horseshoe Helpings" event as more than 100 volunteers including eight Colts players gave up their Tuesday morning.
Along with a turkey, each family received a pumpkin pie, a five-pound bag of potatoes, corn, green beans, stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy.
Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey joined his Colts teammates down at their home stadium on Tuesday to take part in a special event around the holiday season.
"It's a good opportunity for us players to give back to the community," DHB said. "All these people are in need for a good meal for Thanksgiving. We are blessed to be able to provide our family so we want to be able to provide for everybody us."
While the players handled the distribution of the turkey and food into the cars for the families, the other volunteers took part in an assembly line of packaging right off the U.S. Foods trucks.
Volunteers arrived to Lucas Oil Stadium around 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning to prepare for the 43,000 pounds of food that was eventually handed out.
"It's just a blessing to be apart of something like this," outside linebacker Erik Walden said. "Anytime I can be here with all my teammates, the rest of Colts nation, you get a chance to give back, put a smile on people's faces and being able to relate is a wonderful feeling."
Along with feeding 2,000 local families, 10 local churches were selected to each receive 50 meals for families that were unable to attend Tuesday's event.
Amidst the cold, early morning temperatures and occasional snow flurry, the Colts players were more than happy to take a picture or two with the families.
"As an NFL player, you are so thankful of your lifestyle so everything you can do is just give back," rookie Bjoern Werner said. "To see the smiles on their faces when you give them turkey and food is awesome."
Come Sunday, the Colts will be back down at Lucas Oil Stadium for work but on their off-day this Tuesday, the home stadium served as a chance to make a family's holiday season.
"I think it's remarkable we've got so many of the players here and the Colts organization here," Cummings said.
"They are in the grind of a football season and to take the time on their day off to come down and celebrate this great occasion and to give back to the community, it just doesn't get any better than that."