By Mason Kelley
SAN FRANCISCO – Keith Price had just finished a shift on a sandwich-making assembly line. Washington’s senior quarterback stepped away from a table piled high with food for the hungry and flashed his trademark smile.
“I just got done joking with Ben (Riva) and some of the guys,” Price said. “This is the most meat I’ve ever seen. Every time we finished a sandwich they were piling more on the table.”
For a few hours on Wednesday afternoon, the Huskies forgot about football and shifted their focus to spending Christmas helping those in need at Glide Memorial Church. Working in two shifts – one for the offense and one for the defense – Washington’s players, coaches and staff worked to make food and serve meals.
“Coming here on Christmas day and giving, instead of receiving, you couldn’t ask for anything better,” Price said.
In one room Washington players turned sandwich making into a game, cranking out as many meals as possible. Shouts of “bread up!” and “double peanut butter!” echoed through the room.
“We have a very good life at the University of Washington,” Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins said. “You get to come out here and see people who really don’t have the support system we do, that we’re fortunate enough to have, and it just makes you really thankful for what you have.”
On one of the building’s lower floors, running backs Bishop Sankey and Deontae Cooper helped show people to their seats, while freshman Darrell Daniels and others served food.
After dropping off an empty tray, someone approached Cooper and asked, “Has anyone told you that you look like Deion Sanders?” Cooper laughed and went back to work.
“It’s special because, a guy like me from Los Angeles, I’m always with my family, with my mom, with my brothers,” receiver Jaydon Mickens said. “To see and feed people in need on Christmas it’s amazing. I love to help.
“The best part is seeing the smiles on their faces when the food hits the table. It was just tremendous. They came in here and they were frowning up, because they didn’t have any food, but to see them light up after they were fed was amazing.”
The Huskies made hundreds of sandwiches and kept a steady stream of appreciative people moving through the food line. The trip to Glide provided one of the week’s biggest highlights for everyone who took the time to help.
“They’re super energetic,” Glide spokesperson Jean Cooper said. “I get a sense they’re really interested in being of service. Sometimes we get people here and, they do the work, they serve, but their hearts aren’t in it. These guys seem like they’re really into it and they’re getting to know our guests.”
After a few hours, the last group of Huskies boarded the bus back to the team hotel. Washington then turned its attention back to football, but not before an experience they won’t soon forget.
“You’re always blown away when you’re done,” Washington interim coach Marques Tuiasosopo said. “There’s something about serving that puts you in a great mood.”