Rookies go Christmas shopping with kids

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With Christmas less than two weeks away, numerous Texans were spreading holiday cheer to underprivileged youngsters from the Houston area on Tuesday morning.

At Academy Sports Outdoors on Highway 59-South between Kirby and Shepherd, the Texans' rookies went Christmas shopping with 34 children from the Youth Development Center and the Mt. Olive Baptist Church. Academy provided each child $100 to shop with, and each Texans rookie was teamed up with two or three children.

Tight end James Casey was matched up with a pair of brothers who were eight and nine years old. Casey helped pick out shoes for the boys, as well as some clothes.

Defensive end Tim Jamison helped a couple of pre-teen girls do their shopping. Their cart was full of furry winter jackets, a pink volleyball and much more.

No matter what each child chose, everyone involved was smiling and having a great time picking out treats the kids wouldn't have had without the help of Academy and the Texans.

"Our kids have been so excited about this all week," Mary Nell Jones of the Youth Development Center said. "I can't express to you what it means to our children."

The YDC serves third through eighth graders in the 5th Ward of Houston.

"It's wonderful for our children to be able to see young men who have not only been able to excel in sports, but also have paid attention to academics," Jones said of the Texans' rookies. "That's something we think is very important, so we're delighted to be a part of this."

For Casey, the event was a nice break from the rigors of the gridiron.

"It's a ton of fun," Casey said. "I've got three kids that I'm taking around, looking for stuff. I'm trying to teach them how to budget money a little bit."

For their part, the folks at Academy had a fun time at the event as well.

"This is an absolute blast for us," Thomas Schoenbein of Academy said. "We get to watch the Texans on TV, but to have them come in with the kids and seeing them give back to the community, it's absolutely awesome."

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