Tar Heel O-line bonds with Durham Rescue Mission service

Jul. 13, 2013 @ 08:39 PM

Offensive lineman are always eating. For two hours Saturday, North Carolina’s offensive line served others instead.

The Tar Heels handled the lunch shift at the Durham Rescue Mission on Saturday, waiting on between 120 and 150 people.

“Being a big guy, I love to see people get a big meal,” sophomore center Jarrod James said. “Seeing people eat, be full, be happy, I’m all about it.”

The 6-foot-3, 290-pound James had worked at a soup kitchen in his hometown of Goldsboro through both his high school and his church. He wanted to continue that service when he got to UNC, and sprang into action when he saw a commercial for the Durham Rescue Mission.

“I saw there was a large number of homeless men around and I had a place in my heart for them and wanted to help,” James said. “I called this place to see how I could make a difference.”

James brought about 20 of his teammates and offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic on Saturday. For many of them, it was their first experience in a soup kitchen.

“I’m used to growing up in that culture and seeing how it benefited people,” James said. “I’d see people from my school in line and people I never thought would need help like that. It’s a humbling experience to all of us, just knowing in my heart that people don’t eat as good as I eat.”

Before serving food, the Tar Heels got a tour of the dormitories and listened to a testimonial from one of the residents. They also signed T-shirts and hats for the UNC fans in attendance.

The offensive line often holds bonding activities, but they usually involve food, such as trips to a local Japanese restaurant, or comedy or trips, such as one planned to a waterpark. This one held a greater purpose.

“This is an opportunity for us to grow together, serve together, so that when we go out (on the field) we can fight together,” James said.

Of course, it wasn’t the easiest time for some of the linemen to be around food for two hours without eating it.

“We’re all a disciplined group,” James said. “But every once in a while you see a guy eye a piece of cake or something. But besides that we’re just happy to serve.”