The Buffalo Bills offensive line turned their season-long fine money into dinner and sports gear for 20 children from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Buffalo and Erie County on December 20, 2010.
The twenty kids, ages 13-18, shared a delicious meal with the Bills players courtesy of Ilio DiPaolo's Restaurant. In addition, each child was given a $200 gift card to spend at Dick's Sporting Goods store in Orchard Park, NY.
"It's kind of a fun way to give back to the community," said Geoff Hangartner, Bills offensive lineman.
The fines come from plays that the players don't run perfectly.
"Anything you mess up iin practice or games contributes to your fines," said Andy Levitre. Bills offensive lineman. "You'd have to be perfect to not get fined. Pretty much everyone contributes."
Bills players encouraged the kids to spend the money however they wanted. The children bought sneakers, balls, game jerseys and more, but the holiday spirit of giving was even more evident when one child's entire purchase revolved around his family. The young boy bought something for everyone in his family including a fishing pole for his grandfather.
The players donated their fine money they collected throughout the year and Hangartner came up with the idea on what to do with the money.
The players that participated in the event were Kraig Urbik - #60, Mansfield Wrotto - #61, Sean Allen - #62, Geoff Hangartner - #63, Jason Watkins - #66, Andy Levitre - #67, Cordaro Howard - #68, Eric Wood - #70, Ed Wang - #71, Colin Brown - #74, Chad Rinehart - #76, Demetrius Bell - #77, Erik Pears - #79 and Jon Stupar - #88.
"We thought as an offensive line we'd contribute in our own way, by getting the kids out here and letting them enjoy the holiday season," said Levitre.
"Today was just a wonderful holiday experience for the kids in the program," said Alicia Bartsch, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Buffalo and Erie County director of community relations. "For the players to take time out, come up with this idea, and take their evening and spend quality time with these kids, says so much about their character and the type of men that they are. You can tell that they really all do care about the city of Buffalo, and I'm really grateful I got to come and see that tonight."
Surprised and awed best describe the kids when they realized they had $200 to spend and could spend it however they wanted. Hangartner smiled when he spoke about where the kids could go shopping within the store.
"Even though it's all about the kids," said Hangartner. "We're gonna keep them out of the hunting section."