Here's an NFL story designed to warm your heart and terrify your wallet. Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson, one of the league's unquestioned good guys, on Tuesday performed what's becoming an annual ritual for him: a Toys "R" Us shopping spree for at-risk youth in Houston.
Johnson's Foundation, the Andre Johnson Charitable Foundation, funded the spree, in which 12 children selected by Child Protective Services had 80 seconds to fill up their carts with as many toys as they could. And oh, could they fill those carts.
"You hear a minute and twenty seconds, and you don't think that's a long time, but you'd be surprised by what these kids can put into their buckets," Johnson said afterward. You can see his gargantuan receipt in the photo at right.
The children, ranging in ages from 8 to 16, have all suffered parental abuse in some form and now live with extended family members. But each child made sure to purchase toys for siblings and other relatives as well.
Johnson's foundation performs several works throughout the year for children in both Houston and Johnson's Miami hometown. But he told the team's website that it's the Toys "R" Us event that he enjoys the most.
"I think it's probably the best one because you get to see the kids really enjoy it," he said. "That's what this season is about. It's something I look forward to. The kids are happy, they get what they want for Christmas, and that's all that matters."
After the spree, Johnson also joined the Houston Police Department's Blue Santa program to surprise 800 students at Houston's Bastian Elementary School with Christmas presents.
Johnson stressed that he had traveled the path many of these kids were on, and he hoped they could learn from his example: "I grew up in a single-parent home and I was fortunate to achieve my goals," he said. "So, whatever goals you have, just keep them out in front of you, don't let anybody distract you away from them, because there will be distractions that try to detour you away from your goals. That's the biggest thing."
Post by heightsyankee on Dec 5, 2012 13:47:55 GMT -5
This has been all over the local news in Houston.
Someone slap me so I come to because this when I 1st saw it I was all like "This is awesome," but then I I found myself going "$19k for 12 kids? That could have gone so much further." Between this and my Debbie Downer post about giving trees, I'm starting to think I suck at Christmas.
Post by michellebelle on Dec 5, 2012 13:50:50 GMT -5
HY - hopefully he also gives to the food bank, meals for kids, and other charities causes. To lesson your debbie downer feeling - just think about how this might inspire other people to be generous because he did something so fun and sweet for at risk kids.
And ps - I don't like football much (but am coming around more and more) but AJ ROCKS!
The article says the kids put stuff in their carts for siblings and other relatives. Beyond what others do to piggyback, I think the excitement of having Andre Johnson buy whatever you want out of toys'rus even one Christmas will last a long time. The guy is a hero here.
Post by writergal49 on Dec 5, 2012 23:34:24 GMT -5
WAIT!!!! So a player from the U is making headlines for something not involving an NCAA scandal? Me likey!
In all seriousness, this was totally awesome of Johnson. Aside from the monetary value of the gifts, I can't imagine how excited those kids were to just spend time with an NFL player like him. That's dream stuff for a lot of little kids, regardless of their upbringing. For kids that have experienced abuse and have had godawful home lives, it's just even more heartwarming.