Johnson’s giving off the field started bright and early at the Toys“R”Us next to Reliant Stadium where he gives so much on the field. He teamed with Harris County’s Children Protective Services to treat 12 kids to a shopping spree. One catch – they only had 80 seconds!
NFL Power Rankings: Who's Number 1?
“The children that attend this event every year come from various backgrounds and may have been exposed to some saddening experiences,” Johnson said. “During this event, they get to be kids again. I love seeing the excitement and how genuinely thankful these kids are every year. Giving back to my community is an honor and I enjoy brightening up the holidays for these families.”
Johnson said the nearly $20,000 tab at this year’s shopping spree was probably the largest amount since he started the event in 2008 but of course emphasized that it was completely worth it.
Next stop for Johnson – Bastian Elementary, which is a Houston-area school adopted by his foundation and a place he works with for other events and programs. Since 2010, he has teamed up with the Houston Police Department and Blue Santa Houston to surprise 800 students with toys for the holidays.
The entire school gathered in the cafeteria where posters and banners were hung thanking Johnson. Students waved handmade signs saying, “Bastian’s MVP – Andre Johnson.” They welcomed him with a song asking for a Super Bowl win. Johnson briefly spoke to the crowd before introducing a special guest – Blue Santa. Then gifts were handed out to every single student, and once that was done, they opened them all at once. As the kids’ faces brightened with joy, so did Johnson’s.
“This is our time to stand up and help our community more than ever before,” Johnson said. “I want to thank the Houston Police Department and the community for their contributions to make this program a success. It’s a privilege for me to be able to make this holiday a little more special for these students.”
Johnson likes to work with this particular group to encourage the public to support the Blue Santa Houston Program in order to increase the number of underprivileged families that can be assisted each year through community donations and corporate sponsorships.
The day ended with one last surprise. Johnson asked any student who was wearing his No. 80 jersey to come to the front of the room. Each of these fans received a $100 gift certificate to Toys“R”Us.
Check our website later for a photo gallery from The Andre Johnson Foundation events on Tuesday.