The History of Everett & Jones Barbeque’s Toy Drive
As tributes pour in for football great, Hall of Famer, John Madden who passed away, December 21, 2021, some may reflect on his contributions to the game of football on and off the field, but here at Everett & Jones Barbeque he holds a special place for a different reason. We are thankful for Madden '90. No, not the video game bearing his name that caused a craze in the gaming industry. The Madden '90 I am speaking of was the year he started the Everett & Jones Barbeque’s annual Christmas Toy Drive and Giveaway.
Annie Pearl Everett-Jones, sister #2, tells the story of how their friendship began in1990. She was sitting in her office at the Pleasanton location (Yes! There was a Pleasanton and Dublin location before it became the metropolis it is today) when Mr. Madden approached the counter asking to speak to the owner. Pearl says she came out, he introduced himself and complimented her on how much he enjoyed the food.
That conversation led to many others which included tours of his famous RV (The Madden Cruiser), meeting of his wife Virginia, family, friends, and work associates. She even visited the family home in Black Hawk and the production studio where he filmed his commercials and other productions. During one of their conversations, Mr. Madden said he wanted to buy some toys and donate them to kids for Christmas and asked if she would help? There were two stipulations: Pearl had to agree to distribute the toys to kids in the community, and he wanted to remain the secret Santa. The deal was made and the relationship between John Madden, Everett & Jones Barbeque, toys, and happy, smiling kids began.
Mr. Madden donated over 300 toys that year and each year afterwards for the next 5 years. The toys were delivered to the restaurant, by his wife and team, carefully wrapped and labeled according to age and gender. The same great coach who led the Oakland Raiders to victory in Super Bowl XI, also changed the game for Everett & Jones Barbeque and their community outreach.
When it was time to throw a pass, other sisters were there to receive it. They started purchasing gifts and seeking other donors to continue what he started. Shirley Everett, sister #4, took the toy drive to the Fruitvale location in Oakland in 2005. She opened a novelty store called Santa’s Crib, adding a live Santa, and giving the kids an opportunity to take free pictures with him, elevating the game.
Mary Everett, sister #5, took the toy drive to the Berkeley location in 2010. She partnered with the Bay Area Corvette Club and added extra flair by trading in Santa's red sleigh for a shiny yellow Corvette, matching the kid’s bright smiles. Touch Down! With what John Madden started Everett & Jones Barbeque has successfully distributed over 10,000 toys to Oakland-Bay Area boys and girls ages 6 month to 16 years old since 1990.
There is no doubt John Madden will be remembered as a game-changer for many great things. It is because of him that the Oakland Raiders were Super Bowl Champs in 1977, Video gamers have enjoyed playing football games from the Madden series since 1988, and Everett & Jones Barbeque has had an annual toy drive for the past 31 years.
We are grateful for his contributions and motivated by his inspiration. We honor him and will continue to build upon his work. For more information about the annual toy drive and giveaway please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
By: Yvette Jones-Hawkins
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