TAUNTON — Giving back has always been a part of Marquis Flowers’ DNA.
At an early age, the Patriots linebacker was taught by his parents to help serve and feed surrounding communities in his hometown of Phoenix during the holidays.
On Monday, Flowers continued the tradition.
“I’m blessed that I had the opportunity to do it,” Flowers said. “Growing up, Thanksgiving Day was one of the biggest holidays for the family. My parents, obviously, didn’t have a lot but they use to work hard to help other families out. That’s what I wanted to do. I’m so glad I could help today.”
Flowers donated 50 turkeys, along with other Thanksgiving Day treats, to foster families in need during the holidays during the Mass. Wonderfund Inc. Thanksgiving Turkey Donation event at the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Taunton-area office.
Alongside Flowers was first lady Lauren Baker, the wife of Gov. Charlie Baker. Lauren Baker serves as vice chairwoman of the Wonderfund, which, for 19 years, was formerly known as the DCF Kid Fund. Baker helped rebrand the name two years ago to what it is today.
“This is a great event and we’re extraordinarily proud of Marquis (Flowers) and grateful for him for wanting to contribute turkeys,” Baker said. “The families here today are so happy to have the joy of Thanksgiving brought to them by a real Patriot.”
The Wonderfund is Massachusetts’ newly relaunched private charity supporting children served by the DCF with assistance beyond what state funds can provide. Items such as clothing, toiletries and an age-appropriate item of comfort being removed from unsafe homes are just some great work by Wonderfund Inc.
“We want to serve every child that is involved with DCF, which is around 50,000 kids across the commonwealth,” Baker said. “I want to make sure that every single one of them has all the same opportunities that other kids in their class have. We’re building it as fast as we can to serve every child.”
Executive Director of the Mass. Wonderfund Inc. program, Jennifer Kitchenham, was thrilled with all the happy faces of families at the event.
“It is amazing to have Marquis and Mrs. Baker support the Wonderfund and kids all around the commonwealth,” Kitchenham said. “It is very special and I’m happy to be here.”
Kids and families each chatted and met with Flowers. Later, the families all received an autographed photo of Flowers.
Flowers was traded to the New England Patriots in late August for a 2018 seventh-round pick. He played college football at Arizona and was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Flowers made the play of the game against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
With the Raiders trailing 14-0 and driving deep into Patriots territory, Flowers punched the ball out of the wide receiver Seth Roberts’s hands. Patrick Chung recovered the fumble to give the ball back to New England. The turnover set up Stephen Gostkowski’s record 62-yard field goal right before halftime.
A large contingent of family members accompanied Flowers at the event, including his mom, Adarin Flowers, who flew in from Phoenix.
It was certainly a day the young 25-year old football star will never forget.
“I try to do as much I can to the community — the Patriot way,” Flowers said. “It’s not all about what we do on Sunday. We need to give back. This one is my first one alone. It was something special today.”