Offensive lineman Drew Richmond paced the AT&T parking lot Thursday evening with a soft smile.
What had started as a small conversation between friends had grown to something much greater.
"We just want to love on each other out here," Richmond said, nodding toward the crowd. "Our parents used to make us do this at the church, so why are we stopping now?"
Richmond, a fourth-year junior at UT, helped organize Thursday's event with teammates Trey Smith, MaLeik Gatewood, and friend Anthony Walton (who moonlights as "DJ A-Wall" for Tennessee basketball.)
"We're supposed to love everybody and some people just didn't have the same circumstances," Richmond said. "We're blessed we have the circumstances to be able to do something like this. We're just happy, blessed to be a blessing."
It wasn't just football players - students, staff, and community members helped pitch in and feed approximately 300 people.
"It's that time of the year, which is Christmas season," Walton said. "Everybody doesn't have an opportunity to get that gift and everyone doesn't have an opportunity to have that big dinner with their family.
"We just love to bring that family atmosphere to people we've never met before," Walton said.
Richmond said he and his teammates plan on doing these events more regularly.
"If I got just one message for everybody," Richmond said. "We should love everybody. Just be who you are and once you know who you are, everything else will be alright."