"[This] means more to me than playing ball," Smith said
Christmas came early for a group of children in need thanks to Baltimore Ravens receiver Steve Smith.
The NFL veteran hosted the Ravens’ 12th annual Holiday Helpers, an event where Smith, his teammates and the team’s cheerleaders volunteer as personal shoppers for under-served Baltimore-area youths.
Smith said the holiday tradition of giving each child a $200 Target gift card to shop for presents for themselves and their families means a lot to him because he was once in their position. As a child, Smith received gifts through the Angel Tree program, which provides clothing, shoes and gifts to children in need.
“I look forward to this and I really love doing it because growing up I was an Angel Tree kid so it really means a lot to me to be able to do this,” Smith explained in a video of the event.
“I know what these kids fee like,” he continued. “There’s a soft place in my heart that a lot of times I don’t reveal but [this] means more to me than playing ball.”
Smith and his teammates helped the kids pick out toys and encouraged them to take the opportunity to do something special for their families.
“There are other people in your family that you could shop for as well,” Smith explained to one child. “So don’t take this opportunity and not pay it forward.”
After teaching the kids about the importance of giving to others, Smith picked up a little something for himself: a Yoda onesie.
The onesie appears to be the gift that keeps on giving – he wore it while bike riding through the store and brought it back out for a press conference on Wednesday.
“It’s been a few decades since I’ve worn a onesie,” Smith explained, according to SB Nation. “I tried it on and I bought it, and I thought ‘I’ve got to use it.’ I try not to waste money.”