In tune with the giving spirit of the holiday season, the Rams hosted a shopping spree for 100 children served by The Salvation Army. Rams players, cheerleaders, staff and significant others of players and coaches paired with children and served as their personal shoppers, guiding them through the West Hills Walmart and loading shopping carts with items on their holiday wish lists.
Divisional Commander with Salvation Army Southern California Kyle Smith believes that future holiday seasons for these children will bring the Rams to mind. Walking through the many aisles of Walmart provided ample time for conversation with players and staff. As many of the children shopped, often for more than themselves, they would confide in their shopping partners and seek ideas and advice. It was a unique opportunity that allowed the children to share more than just their interests and passions with the players through their items on their wish list, but also those of their relatives and friends.
"For the kids, this was an unforgettable event. They will remember this for the rest of their life," said Smith. "Just think about it, the kids get to meet their football heroes, talk with them, and shop with them. And to make it more memorable, the shopping spree was the day after the Rams beat the Seattle Seahawks! What a way to celebrate, with some deserving kids from LA."
Rams safety John Johnson III was in his winning holiday spirits, chatting with his shopping partner and pushing a cartful of holiday gifts.
"It's amazing to be out here with the Rams and to give these kids an opportunity to look up to someone and to make their Christmas special and holidays special," said Johnson III.
Salvation Army's Divisional Commander Kyle Smith believes that it can be opportunities like these that give the Rams a presence in homes throughout the LA region for years to come, especially during the holidays.
"One day they will be sitting down with their kids watching a Rams game and say, 'I remember when I hung out with some of the Rams. They took us shopping at Christmas when we did not have much. They are a great team and we will always support them in this house. We are Rams supporters here!'"
Participating in the shopping spree were children from Salvation Army's Zahn Memorial Center that serves downtown's homeless population; Westwood Transitional Village that serves homeless veteran families; and Alegria which provides residential care for the chronically ill and their younger family members. Additional children came from Salvation Army centers in Ventura, Oxnard, Inglewood and the San Fernando Valley.
For more information about the Rams' holiday efforts in the community, please visit therams.com/community.