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Rams Punter Johnny Hekker spreads holiday cheer by surprising Upward Bound House families with Christmas gifts


The Los Angeles Rams punter and team captain Johnny Hekker and his wife, Makayla, made this Christmas memorable for families at the Upward Bound House shelter in Culver City.

"I'm really excited to have this event today," said Christine Mirasy-Glasco, President and CEO of Upward Bound House. "It's been really tough, as you can imagine, with COVID and everything else on going on, but we've stuck together as a family. Tonight, we are coming out and hoping to share the gift of life, caring and community."

Last Wednesday, the Hekkers spread the holiday cheer by purchasing gifts and holiday meals for the children and families that are transitioning out of homelessness.

"Merry Christmas, we love you," said Hekker to the families via Zoom. "We hope you all experience a lot of God's love and just provision this holiday season. We love you guys so much. We hope you guys have a great Christmas. Enjoy the meal. We wish we could be there with you and hope to get down there soon to see all of you, give you hugs, fist pounds and all that fun stuff. Merry Christmas and have a great holiday season."

Families got the chance to speak to Johnny and Makayla on the virtual call. Many families expressed their gratitude for the Hekker family. Rams Vice President of Community Affairs and Engagement Molly Higgins helped distribute the wrapped gifts from the Hekkers to the 18 Upward Bound House families.

 "Thank you so much. You guys are a blessing," said one of the joyful kids to Johnny and Mikayla.

Upward Bound House family shelter was founded in 1991 as a 501(c)3 organization in Los Angeles County. The mission of Upward Bound House is to eliminate homelessness among families with children in Los Angeles by providing housing, supportive services, and advocacy. Upward Bound House strives to reduce the number of homeless families with minor children who are hungry and living on the streets of Los Angeles by helping them access basic resources and successfully transition into their own homes with the capacity to remain there permanently.

To learn more about the Rams' community efforts, please visit

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