By Joseph D. Bryant
Housing Authority of the Birmingham District
The Housing Authority of the Birmingham District again partnered with Birmingham native and Carolina Panther Mario Addison to provide hearty Thanksgiving dinners to hundreds of families living in public housing.
Activities took place Nov. 20, at North Birmingham Homes and at Southtown Court. It was homecoming of sorts for Addison, a native of North Birmingham Homes.
This is the second year that HABD teamed with Addison, a defensive end with the Panthers, to provide 250 turkeys in the days just before Thanksgiving. In addition, Addison provided several more families with additional help in the form of a grocery store shopping spree.
“Mario Addison’s name has quickly become synonymous with achieving your dreams, then coming back home to make things a little bit better for your neighbors,” said Michael Lundy, HABD President/CEO. “Once again Mario shows his generosity and commitment to home, and we are pleased to partner with him.”
At Southtown, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin joined in the festivities, greeting the crowd in the community center and also helping to deliver turkeys to senior residents. Catherine Headen received a surprise high-profile front door visit as Lundy, Addison and Woodfin presented her with a dinner turkey.
Noticing the activity occurring at the community center across the street, Headen jokingly told a housing authority employee to “bring someone important to my door.” They returned in the form of an NFL player, the mayor and the chief executive of the housing authority. Headen’s face beamed.
In North Birmingham, Addison rode an HABD bus door to door to make special visits to both longtime residents and working parents. He laughed as he recalled his time as a youngster in the neighborhood. More so, his beginning in public housing inspired Addison to achieve more.
“It made me want to go out there, grind harder,” he said.
Nevertheless, Addison said it remains important that he never forgets where he came from. Everyone he encountered, young and old, called out his name as he approached.
“You never forget me,” one elderly lady said as Addison came to her front door with a turkey in hand.
Thanksgiving activities were the latest is a series of collaborative activities between Addison and the housing authority. Each summer, he sponsors a football clinic for Birmingham area students. And for the last two years, HABD students have traveled to see Addison play in both Charlotte and Atlanta.