Bucs' Shelton Quarles stepping up for single moms
When Shelton Quarles started his charitable foundation eight years ago, he could endeavored to help any underserved segment of society.
But it required only minimal deliberation for the Bucs coordinator of pro scouting to decide what group he wanted to assist, and his own personal experiences helped shape his mission.
The Shelton Quarles Impact Foundation held its third annual Celebrity Waiter Night fundraiser Saturday night, just the latest effort by Quarles to assist single mothers, a cause his foundation has raised more than $600,000 for.
Celebrity Waiter Night featured mostly athletes serving hors d’oeuvres, pouring wine and serving multi-course meals at the posh Loews Don CeSar on St. Pete Beach. Among the participants were former Buc Mike Alstott, former major leaguer Tino Martinez, current Bucs Ronde Barber and Arrelious Benn as well as former Buc and current Giants receiver Michael Clayton.
Attendees paid at least $250 each that went toward the charity. But the crowd was nonetheless sizable.
As for the participants, Quarles didn’t have to beg for their cooperation. They believe in his cause. And maybe that’s because it’s so close to Quarles’ heart. He said he has sought to help single-parent families because of his own upbringing by his mother, Pamela Quarles.
“I was raised by a single mother,” said Quarles, who played linebacker for 10 seasons with the Bucs and is the franchise’s fourth-leading tackler.
“My mother had me when she was 15 years old, so I know what the struggle is when it comes to a single mother and raising a family. Being in that atmosphere and living with my grandmother and my uncle, for the majority of my life, not having a room to call my own, that made me have a heart for single mothers.”
To that end, one of the Foundation’s central missions to help single mothers make their homes as livable as possible.
“This is our major fundraiser for our Home Blitz program,” he said. “. . . We’ve gone in and done an extreme home makeover, so to speak, on homes that are in disrepair (the renovations average $40,000 in value). These are homes that are in nice neighborhoods, but these families can’t afford to keep up their homes in those nice neighborhoods.”
Quarles’ mom didn’t have that kind of help, but she still managed to instill in her son qualities that remain a part of him today.
“My mom struggled,” Quarles said. “But one thing is that I never went without. She made sure that I had everything I needed to succeed. And at an early age, she told me that education is really important. That’s something they could never take away from you. She ultimately (helped) me to go to Vanderbilt University because of her (emphasis) on education, and, ultimately, make it to the NFL.
“Being in the NFL is not a given. There are certain people who are able to stay, and I think it’s the education and the importance she placed on it that allowed me to be where I am and allowed me to move into my next phase in life, which is in the front office of the Buccaneers.”
Click here for more information on the Impact Foundation.