Josh Allen joined his Buffalo Bills teammates and athletes from the city’s other pro teams Wednesday to comfort and support those mourning the racially motivated murder of 10 people at a supermarket last Wednesday.
The quarterback from Firebaugh also said that “the entire country” should adopt the “Choose Love” motto on the t-shirts of Bills players at the Tops supermarket, where the mass shooting of Black shoppers and employees was carried out by a white supremacist wearing body armor.
“Coming down here, we knew it would be heavy, it would be tough,” Allen said. “We’re here to give some hope, share some grief. I’m glad we could do that for the community.”
Watch: Josh Allen — ‘Give Some Hope, Share Some Grief’
The superstar quarterback said that Saturday’s killings brought home the reality of gun and racial violence in America.
“Time and time again, you see it on TV. You don’t ever expect it to be where you’re at,” Allen said. “Sure enough, it’s in our backyard, and it becomes real.”
Allen acknowledged that it was difficult finding the words to comfort residents.
“We’re trying to put a smile on their faces and be a beacon of joy to the community … be there to lean on,” Allen said.
Healing Begins After a Terrible Week
Bills safety Josh Thomas draped his arm around Jamie Lash, who used to work at the supermarket.
“It means unity. It means support,” Lash said, adjusting the Bills cap another player had placed on her head.
From behind tables, Allen and other players served hot meals of chicken alfredo with broccoli and handed out lettuce, radishes, and other produce to residents.
“This week has been terrible,” said Shervon White, who lives near the store. “Just seeing the community come together means so much. To see the Bills come here, it kind of lightened the spirit of the area.”
The Buffalo Bills Foundation said it would donate $200,000 to relief efforts, an amount that will be matched by the NFL Foundation.
“This is about just filling the gap that’s in our world today with love and bringing people together,” said Bills coach Sean McDermott. “When you affect one person in our community, you affect all of us.”
(Associated Press contributed to this article.)