The holiday season tends to bring out the best in people. Even those who usually don’t give a second thought to the Salvation Army Red Kettle find themselves throwing in a couple quarters or giving spare change to the local youth sports club gathered on the corner to raise funds for their upcoming season. Not giving would feel heartless, especially in December.
Many professional athletes take this charitable holiday spirit to the next level. Take Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle and Week 15 NFLPA Community MVP, Geno Atkins, for example. The good deeds that earned him the award are lengthy, but this list from the NFLPA website is worth a read in its entirety:
Purchasing beds, infant clothing and baby items for multiple families
Covering the costs of dental bills and new dentures for one household
Contributing to a family going through the adoption process
Donating to a campus missionary
Paying AAU basketball fees for a family
Hosting a shopping spree for a family of four
Buying furniture and clothing for multiple families experiencing tough times
Purchasing a new laptop for a young boy who is an aspiring entrepreneur
Hosting a family of six at the Dec. 16 Cincinnati Bengals game
Donating gloves, blankets, socks and hand/feet warmers to Blessings Bags of Love, which serves the homeless population in Cincinnati
Providing gift cards ranging from $250-$300 for families to shop for groceries and other items
Atkins and his wife carried out all of these charitable works in support of 50 families in the Cincinnati area from December 10-16 during his “Atkins Week of Giving.”
In response to his extensive philanthropic efforts, the NFLPA followed up the award recognition with a $10,000 contribution to Atkins’ charity of choice. Along with this donation, the NFLPA will sell a limited edition Atkins bobblehead on Forever Collectibles, with a portion of proceeds going to Atkins’ charity of choice as well.
Seeing professional athletes give back so much during the holidays is inspiration for all of us to pay it forward in whatever way we can this season too, whether it’s fifty dollars, fifty cents or simply a friendly smile.
Cheers and happy holidays to all!