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Donald Driver gives help to the homeless

December 23rd, 2013

DD Homeless 2

Donald Driver stood before a group of families working to pull themselves out of homelessness. Eyes were glued on him, with people clinging to his every word.

Minutes earlier, Driver had stacked 50-pound boxes onto a dolly, pushed the haul up a ramp into the Star of Hope’s Randy and Kathy Taylor Transitional Living Center and unloaded turkeys and hams into the facility’s freezer so that some needy families would have one less thing to worry about this holiday season.
The food supplies, the $20,000 donation to the Star of Hope, the day spent making the rounds in his hometown, giving – he made a similar donation during a stop at Bible Way Baptist Church – are but a small portion of what Driver delivered on this day.
His presence. His heart. His story. Those count for so much more.
On Thursday, as Driver offered encouragement to those stuck in seemingly no-out situations or otherwise down on their luck, he did so with a passion that can’t be manufactured.
Those moments take him to familiar places, to jagged memories. Rough times. Bad days. When his father was sent to prison. When his mother scrambled to feed her five children. When his family had no place to call home and spent nights wherever they could, including a month or so in a U-Haul parked underneath a bridge.
“Just knowing that he has been where you are … been through … can’t tell you how much that means to us,” said James Luaao, a Transitional Living Center resident. “You know that he knows.”
‘It’s about giving.’

DD Homeless
On this day, Driver had a U-Haul in tow, a rental that he needed to pick up supplies for this one-day operation. But this wasn’t a single mission or an annual endeavor for Driver.
And his mother, Faye Gray, says when Driver wants to do something like this, he simply makes it happen. Last-minute, spur-of-the-moment. Let’s make it happen. Thursday was such a day.
“It’s about giving,” Driver said. “I don’t do it for the recognition; I don’t care if a camera crew is here or a photographer. I don’t care for that. I do it because I am passionate about what my charity is all about.”
He makes sure the crowd feels it.
“I was in the same situation you are in,” he told them. “My mother was in your same situation. It’s about where do you want your life to be? How to you want to be remembered? I want you to be successful.”
Before Driver’s impromptu speech that was part sermon, part inspirational message, Luaao joked that he was not happy Driver’s Green Bay Packers had beaten his favorite team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, in Super Bowl XLV in 2011. Driver, in turn, ribbed Luaao, lamenting that he had not worn his Super Bowl ring from that 31-25 victory.
He is as comfortable in this environment as he is doing interviews on national television or pranking a Restaurant Depot employee into believing a scrawny newspaper reporter was a football star named Donald Driver.
Driver always has thrived in the spotlight.
He had a 14-year NFL career, all with Green Bay, and retired after last season as the storied Packers’ all-time leading receiver.
Last year, Driver turned in a star performance of a different kind, as he and dance partner Peta Murgatroyd won Season 14 of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

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