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O-Line Makes Holiday Shopping Possible for Military Children
The San Diego Chargers season of giving continued Monday night at the Macy’s UTC shopping mall as the offensive line hosted an event aimed at benefiting Military families.
Approximately 25 children from Operation Bigs, the military arm of Big Brothers/Big Sisters at Camp Pendleton, enjoyed dinner followed by a $300 shopping spree. The Chargers o-line donated the money for the kids then escorted them through Macy’s as they shopped for their families.
“This is just fantastic,” said Nick Hardwick moments after the shopping spree began. “It’s a nice family we have in the offensive line room. At the end of the day it comes down to getting to help people out. You get to give back and support the community that supports you so much. This is a really fun event for us, and you can see it opens the kids eyes. You see them smile and it couldn’t be more fun.”
The event began with the children stepping off a bus with their name being announced. They then walked through a tunnel comprised of the Chargers offensive line giving high fives before entering a tent donated by the Chargers decked out with Holiday decorations.
“This is really cool,” said nine-yard old Ethan. “It’s awesome to (meet them) and get autographs.”
After posing for pictures, signing autographs and eating dinner, the children entered the story, Macy’s gift card in hand, and shopped around with the Chargers offensive linemen who were all adorned in Santa Hats. .
“This is what it’s all about,” said D.J. Fluker. “It feels great to be able to give back. They are here shopping for their Christmas items on their wish list, and it feels great to give back.”
The event wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Offensive Line Coach Joe D’Alessandris, who the players wanted to make sure got his proper credit for helping put together such a tremendously successful outing.
“This is really awesome,” said Jeromey Clary. “The Chargers helped out with the tent, and it looks great, and Macy’s really stepped up also. But we’re very appreciative of Coach D for hooking us up with Macy’s and helping make this possible.”
Watching the biggest men on the Chargers lend their giant helping hands to all the kids was not only a sight to behold, but spoke to the nature of how charitable these men are off the field.
“Anytime you can give back to families and help out around the holidays, that’s the best,” said King Dunlap. “This is what the holidays are all about.”