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The Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, Macy's Host Annual Share The Warmth Coat Giveaway


The Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation and Macy's hosted 300 elementary school students for the annual Share the Warmth Coat Giveaway, with students from seven different schools getting a brand new coat for the winter and a Redskins hat.

The Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation and Macy's hosted 300 elementary school students for the annual Share the Warmth Coat Giveaway, with students from seven different schools getting a brand new coat for the winter and a Redskins hat.

While October has been a month for unseasonably warm weather, the cool mornings and crisp wind are signs that colder temperatures are on the way. For 300 local elementary school students, with the help of the Redskins Charitable Foundation, they are now more than prepared for whenever the cold arrives.

The Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation joined Macy's once again for the annual Share the Warmth Coat Giveaway on Monday. This was the eighth consecutive year that the Redskins have partnered with Macy's to make this event happen. The hundreds of students took a trip to the Macy's at Tyson's Galleria Mall and were met by several Redskins players, wives of the players and coaching staff and Macy's helpers.

The students were allowed to shop for a winter coat of their choice from a variety of colors and patterns. Any number of coats was tried on until they found the perfect fit, in both size and style, to take home with them that day. For some, like Genesis Villacorta, a seven-year-old second grader from Hollywood Elementary School in College Park, Md., the perfect fit came down to the one "that looks cool."

Players helping find that perfect look included punter Tress Way, quarterback Colt McCoy, wide receiver Ryan Grant, tight end Derek Carrier, cornerback Kendall Fuller, defensive end Anthony Lanier, II and linebacker Houston Bates. Players and coaches wives were also a huge help including Jessica McCloughan, Cathy Kelly, , Romonda Jordan, and Sondra Williams, Kris Clark and Cynthia Fuller.

Before leaving, each student from the seven elementary schools received a Redskins hat to complete their outfit.

For the players, getting to see the first and second graders' reaction to them being there was a treat and part of what made the event so fun.

The Redskins Charitable Foundation and Macy's hosted 300 local children as they pick out a brand new winter coat for the holiday season.

"My favorite part is when they just walk in and see us in our jersey, they're all excited, jumping up and giving us high fives," Way said. "Any time you get a chance to do this especially with the kids, you don't have any idea, just taking a couple hours out of your day, how far that goes."

McCoy couldn't have agreed more that this was one of the best ways the players could spend their downtime.

"It's the least we can do on our off day, spend some time with kids," McCoy said. "I think more importantly than giving them coats and all that, it's just spending some time with them, getting to know them a little bit, put a smile on their face. That's a pretty rewarding thing."

The highlight of the day for a lot of the attendees was getting to dance and color NFL and Redskins related pictures after selecting their coats. Dance parties also broke out with encouragement from Lanier II, who was sure not to miss out on a moment of the students getting active.

"I got to keep up, it's harder than practice, dancing," Lanier said with a smile. "The energy that they bring turns over to me, I'm a big kid."

But having a good time with everyone in attendance meant a whole lot more to him than just breaking a sweat.

"The interaction, most kids don't ever have that (with professional athletes). I was one of the kids that never had that," Lanier said. "I remember being in the same situation as some of them and just seeing the look on their faces and knowing you're making a difference in not only their lives, but they're going to tell their friends about it and they'll think (the players) are people that care about us."

There was no doubt that this event was something that schools throughout the DMV were thrilled to bring their students to, for more reasons than the importance of keeping warm over the colder months of the year.

"Our children see these players on TV and I don't think they have any idea of how large they actually are in real life," Timothy M. Kasik, principal of Crestwood Elementary School, said.  "At the same time to see them as real people and be able to make the connection, like I watched you on TV yesterday, to now you're here helping me select a winter coat. It's really a fun experience for them. … We focus so much of our time and attention on academics, I don't want to forget that school should be fun as well. And this is such a unique opportunity. Not too many people in their lifetime get to meet local sports heroes, so any opportunity I can give my kids to do something unique like this, I'll make sure it happens."

"Getting a new coat doesn't seem like much to us, but to them it means the world," Bates added. "They get to bring (the coat) back to their household and be like 'the Redskins helped me out, I get to wear a coat, this winter I'll be warm.' It's a great opportunity. We really love it."

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