On Monday, December 23, the Rams teamed up with The Salvation Army to assist Angelinos in need as part of the team's second annual Community Blitz Day of Service.
During the event, Rams players NSIMBA WEBSTER & KENDALL BLANTON, cheerleaders, Rampage and staff paired with youth and served as their personal shoppers, guiding them through the West Hills Walmart and loading shopping carts with items on their holiday wish lists. Each child and Coach for Kids family member received a $100 gift card courtesy of the Los Angeles Rams.
"It was such a great event, as always. The LA Rams players really engaged with the kids and their families to make it such a memorable experience," said Major Osei Stewart, Area Coordinator for The Salvation Army. "I saw joy and glimmers of hope open in the eyes of the children who participated in the shopping spree and had the opportunity to meet an NFL player. Beyond that, I believe they received an even greater gift which was the generous spirit of humanity that uplifted and offered love in tangible ways through giving gifts, and relationally, connecting with people who care about them. The Salvation Army appreciates partnerships like this where you can work together with the LA Rams to make a huge impact on a child's life."
The spirit of giving extended beyond those who the shopping spree was designed to serve. While volunteers and their partnered youth swiftly strolled up and down the aisles, they weren't just thinking about how to make the holidays special for themselves, but for their own families and friends as well.
"You could tell it meant the world to them, just to have an opportunity like this and to really just be kids," said Anthony Begonia, Director for The Salvation Army. "But it also provided valuable lessons. One of our youth asked her partner about which perfume she thought her mother would like, who unfortunately is very sick. It was moving because so many of our kids weren't just shopping for themselves, but for their families and others too."
Serving low-income and medically underserved children and their families, Cedars-Sinai Coach for Kids program also joined in the spree, even shopping in groups with players, cheerleaders and Salvation Army youth. Coach for Kids provides families in need with free primary and preventative healthcare services, operating under the belief that a healthy child does not exist without a healthy family.
"Cedars-Sinai is thankful that parents and children from our Coach for Kids Mobile Healthcare Program were chosen to be a part of this year's Rams Holiday Blitz," said Michele Rigsby Paul, Coach for Kids Program Director. "Thank you to the Rams for providing this opportunity to these families."
Pizza was provided to the youth participants by courtesy of Pizza Hut. The shopping spree was part of the Rams' second annual Community Blitz Day of Service, in which the team worked with community partners to host volunteer projects at various local non-profits throughout the Los Angeles community to assist Angelinos in need.
"The impact we can make in Los Angeles goes well beyond the games we play and is a 365-day focus of ours," said David Weingarten, Community Affairs and Engagement, Los Angeles Rams. "Our Community Blitz Day of Service is about making the holiday season a little brighter for our neighbors in need and providing everyone a reason to celebrate this special time of year. From our players, coaches and cheerleaders to our front office staff and sponsors, it's special to see every level of our organization and supporters come together for Los Angeles today."
For more information about the Rams' community outreach programs please visit www.therams.com/community.