A few Raleigh athletes help distribute necessities at Oak City Cares

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- On this day of celebration, the fact that there are many people in our community who are suffering should not be forgotten. A few area athletes got together to make this holiday better for those in need.

Fireworks and July 4th go together, but this group led by Andy Woodard is delivering a different kind of brightness

"We're all working, we're all grinding to come to one common goal and that's just to see smiles and see people that probably haven't smiled all week get a chance to smile and be happy. If we can make one person smile we've done our job today."

The giveaway at Oak City Cares in Raleigh provides those who are at risk of homelessness or already homeless with necessities. Toothpaste, razors and other personal hygiene products.

"Everything that you can imagine on a daily basis that we take for granted that these people don't have and have to struggle to get so when you see these people begging for a dollar, two dollars, it may not even be for food."

Waiting for her seasons to start in Spain, former NC State hooper Markeisha Gatling is glad to give her time and effort for this cause.

"I could have no money and I would still try and give back somehow because that's just on my heart. I feel like I was put on this earth to give back and to try and help people so I do that every way possible."

Woodard, who coaches athletes like Gatling and grew up in Sanford had his crew fry up some fish to serve as part of a hot meal as well.

"One bad choice, one bad decision, you might be there. Today is a day you might not get to go to a cookout but we're going to a cookout for you. Nobody may give you anything but we're going to give it to you. Just trying to keep spirits high and keep people moving."

"They start conversations. They tell you about how many days they've been without food and how long it's been since they had a bar of soap or deodorant and things like that."

The smiles are harder to see with masks on but no doubt they are there on both sides of the table.

"It's important to be here on a day like this because maybe they don't have family to go celebrate with and have the cookouts and bonding time so it just makes that more important."

Gatling is entering her 7th year of pro basketball. Woodard is now in year ten of serving the community while helping athletes sharpen skills.
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