Thanksgiving is about coming home, sharing food with loved ones and expressing gratitude for life’s blessings. Jarrod Dyson checked all of those boxes Saturday morning.
The World Series champion gave out free turkeys at Higgins Middle School, a block from where he grew up in housing projects on a street that is now named after him.
Sporting a McComb Tigers baseball cap, Dyson and a group of volunteers heaved about 600 turkeys from the back of a U-Haul truck.
They had planned on being there for four hours, but all of the turkeys were gone in less than an hour and a half.
A long line of cars formed at around 8 that morning and persisted until the turkeys were gone.
“I didn’t expect it to go this quick,” he said. “Just trying to help the community, man.”
McComb officials renamed Warren Street, where Dyson grew up, after him in 2016 following his World Series win with the Kansas City Royals.
Dyson, a free agent centerfielder who most recently has played with the Chicago White Sox, is a speedy clinician of stolen bases who goes by the nickname “Zoombiya.” He’s also is among those who have made it out of Burglund’s projects to go on to a life of good fortune built on hard work and talent.
“I grew up in them projects right over there. We all out here grew up in the projects,” he said.
Dyson said going from what was then Warren Street to the major leagues still seems surreal, even though he’s been playing professionally for a decade.
“Sometimes it don’t seem real but it’s real,” he said. “Don’t too many of us make it out of here. It’s easy to get distracted, but the message for the kids is to stay focused, live your dream.
“I’m living proof that dreams do come true.”
Dyson said he hopes to see positive change come to Burglund and its residents so that others may have a chance to excel just as he did.
For now, being able to provide as many people in Burglund has he can with a turkey is a blessing all around, Dyson said.
“It’s a blessing for me, for them as well. You’ve got to take advantage of the position you’re in,” he said. “Everything can be taken away from you in the snap of a finger, so you’ve got to enjoy it while you’ve got it and bless people while you’ve got it. I’m trying to bless as many families as I can.”
Dyson said sharing what you have is a lesson he learned from growing up in Burglund, and just because he has money, he’s far from the only person there with a generous streak.
“You’ve got people in this community who give away stuff all the time,” he said. “It’s a lot of good people, but it gets overlooked by the negativity. ... Overall it’s a good place.
“You can pull up anywhere, eat. People barbecue, they welcome you to their food, they welcome you into their house. I’m telling you, if you go to anybody’s parents, they’re going to ask you if you’re hungry, if you want to eat. That’s something we grow up off of our manners. Our parents teach us that.”