From Apopka, Florida to Philadelphia, giving back to the kids in his community has been a staple of Jalen Carter's everyday life.
The rookie defensive tackle hosted a Thanksgiving impact event on Tuesday, November 14, at the Boys and Girls Club of Philadelphia in Wissahickon, serving a Thanksgiving dinner buffet to 150 kids.
"It went great," Carter said. "I wanted to do it because I did it back home already. It was my first big event in the city, so I was thankful to give back to those kids."
Carter, the ninth overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, spent time with each kid who attended the event, shaking hands with each of them, taking photos, and sharing laughs.
When he was growing up, Carter's mom, Tonique Brown, owned a daycare. Carter would spend hours on end with the kids while helping his mom run the place.
"I was always around kids," Carter said. "I was the biggest kid, so I would help move things around while playing with the kids so they could get tired for nap time."
In October, Carter and his mom teamed up to give back to their hometown of Apopka, Florida.
On October 2nd, a shooting at a Pop Warner football practice left two teenagers injured. The incident occurred at the Northwest Recreation Complex where Carter grew up playing football.
After hearing about what happened in his hometown, Carter immediately called his mom wanting to help. Carter provided a $5,000 check to cover the mental health and counseling services for the community.
"Mental health is very important, especially in the life we live in now," Carter said. "I felt like that was the right thing to do."
During the Eagles' bye week, Carter visited Apopka for the first time since the shooting.
While attending his alma mater, Apopka High School, players, coaches, and members of the community came up to Carter sharing their appreciation for what he had done.
"Coaches came up to me crying," Carter said. "It hit my heart knowing that what I did affected them in that type of way."
Apopka was where it all started for Carter's community initiatives.
He has hosted football camps, backpack giveaways, toy drives, and Thanksgiving impact events, all in his hometown, just 16 miles northwest of downtown Orlando.
"Whatever good you do for the city is going to spread quickly, it could be the smallest thing," Carter said. "Everybody is going to know what you did and want to thank you for it."
Carter also made a difference while at the University of Georgia, both on and off the field.
He used his scholarship money to cover daily meals for his teammate, Weston Wallace, who was a walk-on defensive lineman. In college, walk-on students do not receive the same benefits as those on scholarships.
"It was strange to me that he was the only defensive lineman not eating with us because of a new rule," Carter said. "I talked with him one-on-one and told him, 'I got you.' I knew where I was headed the following year, so I said why not help out my teammate now."
The 22-year-old attributes his desire to give back to his mom.
Brown, who raised Carter as a single mother, has been an incredible help at Carter's community events.
Following the Pop Warner football shooting in Apopka, Brown presented the check at an event while her son was in Philadelphia.
During a busy offseason in 2022, Brown helped her son put together his first youth football camp in Apopka.
One of Carter's biggest events to date was his back-to-school backpack giveaway in his hometown. He and his mom gave out backpacks, school supplies, and food. Brown was an integral part of setting up the event and making sure it ran smoothly.
"I am very thankful for her," Carter said. "Everything you have seen me do so far, my mom has been the main objective for it. She supports me every day, talks to me every day; she is doing what a good mother should do."
Carter's generosity, especially toward children, has given him a great foundation for giving back in his new city.
His Thanksgiving meal event was the first of many community efforts that the rookie is looking forward to doing.
"I plan on doing much more, I just want to give back to everybody," Carter said.