The Buffalo Bills players kicked off the holiday season on December 13th by hosting an emotionally moving yet cheerful chidren's party that 100 special kids will remember for a long time.
The holiday party, held in the Jim Kelly Club at Ralph Wilson Stadium, included children from nine different Western New York agencies; The Boys & Girls Club of Buffalo, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie County, Carly's Club – Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Aspire, Northwest Buffalo Community Center, United Way of Buffalo & Erie County, Gateway-Longview, Salvation Army and the Buffalo Public Schools.
A wish list of the gifts that the kids wanted was previously submitted, and the Bills worked with Santa Claus to make sure the presents were wrapped and ready for the kid's arrival.
The Bills Toyota Rookie Club players hosted the event including defensive lineman Marcell Dareus, defensive back Justin Rogers, defensive back Da'Norris Searcy, linebacker Kelvin Sheppard, linebacker Chris White, running back Johnny White, defensive back Aaron Williams, wide receiver Kamar Aiken, offensive lineman Mike Jasper, defensive back Doyle Miller, defensive back Joshua Nesbitt.
Veteran players also attended including team co-captains running back Fred Jackson and safety George Wilson, linebacker Arthur Moats, long-snapper Garrison Sanborn, quarterback Tyler Thigpen and wide receiver Tim Toone.
Before the Bills players handed the gifts to the kids, the players and the Jills cheerleaders shared their favorite presents and holiday memories as they introduced themselves to the children.
Fred Jackson has been a strong supporter of the annual children's holiday party as long as he has been a Bills player.
"I love it," said Jackson. "This is my sixth year coming and it's always a lot of fun hanging out with the less fortunate kids, especially around the holidays. Us being here for these kids is huge, we love it as much as they do."
Some of the Bills players shared their feelings about seeing the kids experience such joy.
"It's great to help people in the community, show that we really care, and give to the less fortunate families to help them have a happy holiday, just like we want for our families," said Johnny White. "Doing this for the kids and seeing a smile on their faces, it makes everything better."
"I was watching this kid open his Christmas present and he was so happy," said Chris White. "It's definitely a special night to experience with them."
"It's a great experience to spend time with the kids, to spread a little holiday cheer with them," said Searcy. "Just doing this is truly a blessing and to share your blessings with other people is great."
The annual holiday party gave children from the various agencies the unique opportunity to celebrate the holidays with the Bills players, Jills cheerleaders, Billy Buffalo and Santa Claus. In addition to their special gift from their wish list, the kids also received a holiday dinner and treats, pictures with Santa Claus and holiday-themed train rides with the players.
The Buffalo Bills Women's Association assisted Santa and his elves with the gift shopping and wrapping of all the presents.