LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — From protecting the quarterback to protecting the city’s most vulnerable families, Los Angeles Rams tackle Andrew Whitworth spread some much-needed holiday cheer tonight for local families who have experienced homelessness.
The NFL veteran and his family surprised 114 kids Monday with a present from their wish list, just in time for Christmas.
“To be a part of this special opportunity, to come here and be in front of you guys and do something that we thought would make your holiday great and just give you a chance to smile,” Whitworth said.
The holiday happiness happened at the Burlington Family Apartments in downtown Los Angeles.
For many of the kids, this was the first home they have had for the holidays with their families recently having transitioned off the streets and into supportive housing.
“It’s extremely humbling, just the whole process of being here tonight and giving out the gifts, and seeing these families and receiving the love and just a little hug and that somebody really cares about them,” Whitworth said. “So I think for us, for my family, it was really important to come out and be a part of this night. We’re just excited we’re able to do it, and we’re blessed to be where we are and pay it forward to families across Los Angeles.”
Along with presents for the children, families received a holiday feast and even an autograph from Rams safety Eric Weddle, but the night was about more than presents and food.
“Christmas isn’t about getting,” one child said. “It’s about giving and spending time with family and friends.”
Whitworth has been nominated for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award from the NFL. The award recognizes players who have had a positive impact on their community. The winner will receive $250,000 donated to the charity of his choice.
To vote for Whitworth, send a tweet with #WPMOYCHALLENGE + Whitworth.