CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Every year, a grocery chain donates turkeys for every touchdown the University of Virginia football team makes, but in the wake of this year's shooting, it's even more poignant.

“This program has been in place, Touchdowns for Turkeys, for several years now. No year has been more bittersweet than this one,” said Michael McKee, the CEO of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.

Kroger will donate 10 turkeys for every touchdown the Cavaliers make. The team ended the season with 20 touchdowns, which amounted to 200 turkeys, but Kroger added an additional 300 turkeys to bring the total to 500.

“There are as many families needing our help today as there were a year ago during the pandemic,” McKee added.  

On Monday, UVA Athletics and Kroger presented the turkeys to BRAFB and some football players unloaded the 500 turkeys. 

UVA football head coach Tony Elliott says it’s very important for him to give back to the Charlottesville community.

“This is pretty cool, it’s a great opportunity for us to just show that we are committed to being connected to the community," he said. "Hopefully, this will continue to strengthen the relationship that’s been going on I believe since 2017. And hopefully, it will encourage our guys to perform even better because we know that not only do we have an opportunity to be successful on right, but we have an opportunity to create some success for another family.” 

Players later shared that this event gives football a greater purpose to them.

“You know, we’ve got a great opportunity to play football but it’s more than that. Especially, Coach Elliott taught us that to be able to have the opportunity to come out here and help people you know the community has been going through a hard time lately, especially with all the tragedies that happened. To be able to give back in a meaningful way really means a lot for us,” said UVA sophomore linebacker, Ryan Attaway. 

“As we come towards the holidays, there are people that aren’t as blessed as we, are so it’s an awesome opportunity to be able to give back to the Charlottesville community and those who aren’t as blessed as we are,” said Stevie Bracey, UVA freshman linebacker.

Because of UVA Athletics and Kroger, 500 families will receive a turkey to enjoy during this holiday season.