GREEN BAY – Packers offensive lineman Billy Turner hosted a coat giveaway on Friday evening in partnership with the Salvation Army in Green Bay.
Three hundred fifty coats were distributed to families, with 350 more set to be given away in Turner’s home state of Minnesota.
The fashionable lineman teamed up with Miami fashion designer Chad Johnson, Katy Friends, an art teacher at Excelsior Elementary School, and her second-grade students to create designs based on the theme of positivity.
Those designs were sewn onto custom jackets and sweatshirts for Packers players and staff, and in return Turner donated five coats to charity per design in both his hometown and his newfound home in Green Bay.
“Being able to take that platform as a player and giving back to a community that gives so much to our organization is great,” said Turner.
Coats in almost every size were on display in the Salvation Army gym. Kids could walk in, pick out a coat, have cookies, and even play catch with Turner.
“He’s very creative, he always has these ideas and I’m just happy we could bring this one to life,” said Turner’s marketing manager, Asia Ashley, who helped coordinate the night’s event.
“It all stemmed from Billy wanting to promote love peace and the Irie Life. He tries to promote that not only in what he does, but what he’s done on the field and with his teammates,” said Ashley.
The “thank you’s” and smiles were endless on this cold Friday afternoon as kids and their parents came to get a coat and chat with Turner.
“We see a lot of clients here within our programs during the week that are participating in things like a food pantry or free hot lunch, people that are in our transitional housing programs and they’re definitely in need,” said Nicole Hanley, marketing coordinator with the Salvation Army in Green Bay. “Some of them have coats that fit a little snug this season or are a little bit worn out, so it’s amazing for some of them to have the opportunity to come and get a free coat.”
The Salvation Army had recently given out free coats in November, but the need for coats in the community remains imperative – especially as temperatures continue to drop.
Turner made sure to interact with every kid that walked into the gym. He held babies, took pictures and talked with parents.
“It’s great, man, it’s special,” said Turner. “Being able to use my platform as a Green Bay Packer, knowing how big the fan base is here in Green Bay … it’s special.”