Continuing their legacy of giving back, the Chargers and Spanos family held their annual back to school shoe distribution with WSS in south Los Angeles.
Many current players and even Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson helped 450 children pick out much-needed shoes. They walked up and down the aisles, finding the perfect pair for each kid.
"This is a great event," Tomlinson said. "It's been a staple of the organization for a long time. This is one of those events (that) all of us as an organization, players alike, look forward to. You can tell the excitement that these kids have."
"Our founder and CEO of the company Eric Alon, his goal when building WSS was to elevate the neighborhood," added Steve Velez, District Manager, Los Angeles Area, WSS. "I think the Chargers and us doing what we do best, which is elevate the neighborhood, is a great partnership."
Along with the new shoes, each child received a new backpack and pair of socks courtesy of WSS. For some players, the event hit home.
"Just coming from where I came from, I didn't have everything I wanted," mentioned Mike Williams, who said he used to do events like this at Clemson. "So, to have kids come out here and you give them a new pair of shoes, backpack and some Chargers stuff, I mean, it's just a good thing to do."
For others like LT, the event gives the players a chance to show their personalities off the field, and remind the kids they're so much more than just athletes.
"It brings back memories," LT reminisced. "Every year I did this as a player, and now having our current players here, what it does is it obviously gives this community and these kids an opportunity to see the players outside of the helmet. That's what I always look forward to…. Now being on the other side as a former player, it's still the same. I still get that same feeling that I had way back in the day."
Overall, the event proved rewarding in its 29th year as it continues to bring a smile to kids' faces.
"It means a lot, just to be able to come out here and help anybody out," mentioned Casey Hayward. "Being a football player and professional athlete, you feel blessed to be in the position you are. So any time anybody (is in) need, especially kids, I'm all for it."
"It's the right thing to do," LT said. "What we should be doing is serving our underprivileged kids. You see their wide eyes and the happiness on their faces."
Chargers current players and Hall of Fame Running Bank LaDainian Tomlinson teamed up with WSS to donated new back-to-school shoes AND backpacks to 450 elementary schools students from the city of Carson.