Sooners safety Carter organizes Thanksgiving feast
Quinton Carter has more than football on his plate this Thanksgiving.
Once No. 14 Oklahoma is done practicing Thursday for its critical regular-season finale against 10th-ranked Oklahoma State this weekend, the Sooners' free safety will head over to the Thanksgiving dinner his foundation is hosting at a Norman church.
When he hasn't been helping Oklahoma (9-2, 5-2 Big 12) stay in the race for the conference championship, Carter has spent the last few months planning an event that will provide free meals to 500 or more people. It's the latest in a series of charitable endeavors for Carter, who was named to college football's Good Works Team by Allstate and the American Football Coaches Association earlier this year.
Carter started his own foundation, Serving Others through Unity and Leadership, and hosted a football camp for children back home in Las Vegas. He has also served as a mentor for five children in the Oklahoma City area and volunteered at a Norman day care.
''This is kind of my passion, to help out people,'' Carter said. ''I feel like God put me in this position to give back and help others and change others' lives. That's kind of the motivation around it.''
Carter is getting help from more than 50 volunteers, including family members, students in his nonprofit class at Oklahoma and from a Rotary club at Norman North High School, the McFarlin Memorial United Methodist Church and the ''Pros 4 Vets'' campaign to help veterans.
''Being surrounded by positive people and a good family and a good Norman community with a lot of positive people, it just kind of makes it easy when a whole lot of people have like interests and they want to get involved,'' Carter said.
Carter, a senior and two-year starter, ranks third on the Sooners with 81 tackles and also has two interceptions and a fumble recovery this season. He decided as a high school senior that he wanted to get involved in charity work, which led to his creation of the SOUL Foundation.
His Thanksgiving idea became a class project, with committees for public relations, recruiting volunteers and organizing activities. Students designed flyers and set up a Facebook page to promote the event.
While the football camp was on a similar scale, Carter considers the Thanksgiving dinner his biggest endeavor yet.
''Football, I do that all day,'' he said. ''It's really the first time for me doing this and the first time for a lot of people that's involved with my foundation doing this. With it being the first time, we've attacked the situation.''
Carter has gotten involved with university President David Boren to get it organized, and coach Bob Stoops suggested that Carter might visit more with the school leader than he does.
''Quinton Carter truly cares about other people,'' Boren said. ''He represents the best values of the university. It is typical of Quinton that he wanted to provide a special Thanksgiving experience for those who otherwise might be alone or without a meal on the holiday.''
The meal was open to anyone from Norman, including the university campus, plus military veterans. Carter's uncle was tapped for the cooking, and TVs were set up to show football games.
''That's my Thanksgiving meal,'' Carter said. ''My whole family will be there.''
Stoops said all of Carter's activities serve as a reminder of ''the depth of a lot of these young guys we get to work with,'' not only at Oklahoma but schools across the country.
''It's really close to his heart, helping other people,'' Stoops said. ''He's really a neat young man and not only a tough player, but really an active leader in the community.''