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Redskins, Marines spread Christmas cheer

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Photo by Daniel Kucin. Santa gives out some Christmas cheer last Tuesday at FedEx Field. More than 1,000 toys were distributed to Prince George’s County children.

Photo by Daniel Kucin. Santa gives out some Christmas cheer last Tuesday at FedEx Field. More than 1,000 toys were distributed to Prince George’s County children.

Published on: Friday, December 21, 2012

By Daniel Kucin

Christmas is a time of giving, and the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation lent a helping hand Tuesday at FedEx Field, with the support of the United States Marines Corps.

The annual “Skins Santa Shoppe” gave Prince George’s County children the opportunity to meet Santa in his workshop located in the Redskins’ locker room, which was transformed into a magical winter wonderland.

Students from Mary Harris, Seat Pleasant, Templeton, Glassmanor, Rosa Parks and Bladensburg elementary schools participated in the event.

More than 1,000 toys were distributed, and every child received one toy, a miniature football and a lighted Santa hat provided by NRG energy.

All of the little boys and girls seemed simply thrilled to have a picture taken with Santa Claus and to meet some of their favorite football players. Many of the Redskins players came out to show their support and spread the holiday cheer. Lorenzo Alexander, Brandon Banks, Joshua Wilson and Rob Jackson were in attendance — just to name a few.

“This is huge, especially for a lot of the kids who are unfortunate,” said Redskins running back Alfred Morris. “I myself was one of those kids. ... That is why I come and give back, because I was in these situations that some of these kids are growing up. There is such a huge variety of toys. ... It’s awesome to see the smiles on their faces, and that makes it all worthwhile.”

Every Redskins player and person involved made sure to guide the children to their favorite toys and greet them and the schools’ representatives.

The “Season of Giving” program has been a huge success in these trying times. This program makes it possible for every child to have a toy to play with for being on “the good list” this year.

The gifts were supplied by the “Toys for Tots” program in conjunction with the United States Marine Corps. Marine Lt. Peter Smith coordinated the toy distribution and had a major role in making it possible for everyone to have a happy holiday.

“This is a huge effort, and I’m honored because I grew up in an environment where I didn’t have a lot of things growing up,” Smith said. “To see these little kids receive the gifts that a lot of those have given is great. It’s the goodwill that you see in people, and I’m proud to be a part of it. This is a huge logistical effort, and we couldn’t do it without some of the great partnerships that we have in the community.”

Templeton Elementary School Principal Tara Young liked that her students had this opportunity and credited it to the hard work of the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation.

“It is a great opportunity for our students,” she said. “And this is the first time for them to see the stadium, and they are thrilled with the opportunity to see the players and to be in the locker room.

“It is awesome. We read letters from the soldiers overseas, so it’s important that they get to see that they (Marines) are giving back to them.”

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