The DeSean Jackson Foundation hosted the third annual "DeSean Jackson: Shop With A Jock" event Tuesday night at Walmart in Sterling, Va.
This year, and specifically this time of year, is special for Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson. As a relatively new father who just celebrated another year of life, the holiday season only adds to the desire and commitment to give back to the local community that reminds Jackson of his own upbringing.
His latest gesture came on Tuesday at Walmart in Sterling, Va., where 50 selected at-risk elementary students were awarded $100 gift cards to participate in the third annual "DeSean Jackson: Shop With A Jock" event.
"This is kind of the time of the year that, for some reason, I just feel like this is the perfect thing to do," Jackson said. "To just really be able to give back and see a lot of smiles on these kids' faces and be able to give [to] some of these kids, that their families can't afford extra gifts or whatever it is, just to be here to be an extra boost." Each kid wheeled around shopping carts searching mainly in the toy aisle and doing their best to bump up against their gift card's limit. Jackson's teammates – quarterback Colt McCoy, wide receiver Jamison Crowder, offensive lineman Arie Kouandjio and linebacker Martrell Spaight – helped navigate groups and checked prices to ease their checkouts.
Running back Matt Jones and wide receiver Pierre Garçon also made appearances on Tuesday.
"I love to get the reactions on the kids' faces, from being the person they're meeting to being able to walk around the store and you know shop and have some fun time," Jackson said. "It's memories you'll probably never be able to get back, and it teaches them a lot about life and when they get to their point in their career where they're giving back and helping out."
"I'm proud to help out DeSean but most importantly, proud to come out with these kids and put a smile on their face and get them some toys and some things that maybe they wouldn't have had," McCoy said. "This is fun."
The Walmart Foundation provided $2,500 for the event and the DeSean Jackson Foundation covered the remaining portion based on the monetary donations they've collected throughout the year.
Tuesday night, though, was mainly about having fun.
The DeSean Jackson Foundation hosted the third annual âDeSean Jackson: Shop With A Jockâ Event At Wal-Mart in Sterling, Va., on Tuesday.
McCoy followed his group to the Nerf guns first, the aisle he said he would rush to if he were in their position. Jackson said he would pounce on some video games and a basketball hoop for his room, "maybe a nerf gun or a nerf ball, all that type of stuff I used to have fun being a little kid."
All of this was a surprise for Spaight, who coincidentally was at Walmart to do some personal shopping, saw his teammates and immediately joined in to help the younger shoppers.
"It's a pretty cool deal to come out here and just give kids some toys looking forward to Christmas, the holidays and just fill them up with the holiday spirit," Spaight said. "It's pretty cool to see the joy on their faces and I enjoy doing it."
For Crowder, it was a chance to further bolster efforts in the community, start a new week on a positive note and guide some youngsters in need.
"To be able to come out and really help somebody outside of football it's very important," Crowder said. "This right here is helping to make their Christmas and giving them memories that will last forever. I'm fortunate to be a part of it and glad to come out and help my teammates DeSean out."