Nothing shines brighter than the eyes of a child who knows that he or she is cared about.
Denver Broncos’ wide receivers Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas have some of the best hands in the NFL as evidenced by nearly 2,000 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns combined this season. It turns out that their hearts are equally as impressive.
The Broncos’ top two receivers put their gloves down on Tuesday evening, and offered to lend a helping hand to 25 children from the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Denver.
Teammates Brandon Stokley, Julius Thomas, Chris Kuper, Mike Adams, and Joe Mays accompanied Thomas and Decker as they hosted a holiday shopping trip for kids who ranged in age from 8-to-14 years old.
“Having the chance to come out with an NFL player and shop, that’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” Mays said. “I know these kids are enjoying it, I’m enjoying it, and I always try to do whatever I can to give back.”
The lucky 25 did not just roll the dice to get this once-in-a-lifetime-trip. They earned the opportunity in school by having exceptional attendance, good grades, and superb participation marks.
“I think growing up and appreciating the holidays, having presents under the tree every Christmas, it’s something that now giving back to those who earned the opportunity to be here and shop is a blessing,” Decker said. “It’s so much fun to see the smiles on their face and see how unselfish they are. That’s a great characteristic of these kids.”
“It’s fun to get out and give back, meet kids and have fun with them,” Demaryius Thomas added.
This wasn’t some out of control shopping spree for the kids from the Boys and Girls Club. They were given a budget, asked to make a list, and told that while they could shop for themselves, this trip was primarily to buy Christmas presents for their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and other family members.
With that, bathrobes, shoes, pajamas, kitchen untensils, basketballs, and headphones flew off the shelves and into shopping carts at a Denver area Target.
As players checked out at the cash register, one little girl went $90 over her budget. Her bright eyes suddenly dropped when she saw the total.
“Better to get more stuff than not enough,” Decker said as he pulled extra cash from his wallet.
The little girl’s eyes widen and a smile bigger than the Grand Canyon emerged.
“It gives us a good opportunity to go out and meet people in the community,” Julius Thomas said. “A lot of us aren’t from here. We just go to work and go home everyday. We appreciate having the opportunity to make somebody’s day better.”
Life’s best moments often illuminate the power of thoughtfulness, the effect of compassion, and the results of gracious love.
That’s the spirit of Broncos’ giving.