SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — As Division 1 football players, they are used to getting up early and grinding out some work, but this morning at the Samaritan Center, it was a different kind of labor.

Athletes Who Care is a nonprofit organization that focuses on empowering student-athletes to give back to the Central New York community by helping charitable organizations.

“I didn’t even see the time go by talking to people in the community I think it’s something when I first got here, we didn’t do enough,” said Matthew Bergeron, Junior, offensive lineman.

But this year that’s changed.

On Monday, October 3, members of the Syracuse Football team worked breakfast shifts at the Samaritan Center, a nonprofit to help serve the hungry. Hot nutritious meals are served to anyone seven days a week, no questions asked.

“Something we have been wanting to do for the last couple of years but with this group, I feel like we have a good opportunity to do that,” said Courtney Jackson, Graduate, wide receiver.

Getting off to their hottest start in decades helps, and gave those visiting the center quite a thrill.

“For them to see a different side of us and getting the engagement was just a wonderful experience,” said Chris Elmore, Senior, fullback.

For many players, it was deeper than success on the field. 

“I used to give back to the homeless every Thanksgiving with my family so I just love the connection that I can build with people that aren’t in a position that I am in,” said Terry Lockett, Sophomore, defensive lineman.

And it’s just the beginning. 

Giving back to the community as Syracuse fans continue to cheer them on every week.