This time of year, a lot of people feel compelled to be kind and charitable to their fellow men. Sometimes, this means donating money to philanthropic organizations; in other cases it means volunteering to spend time helping the community. Both are viable methods of spreading the good will and cheer that define this time of year.
On the field, the Cincinnati Bengals are a football team – albeit not a particularly winning one in 2017. Off the field, the Bengals’ players have done plenty to be winners in their community this holiday season.
Cincinnati Bengals Canned Food Drive
Prior to their game against the Cleveland Browns on November 21st, the Bengals teamed up with Freestore Foodbank – a local food bank located in downtown Cincinnati – for their annual Cincinnati Bengals Canned Food Drive event. Fans attending the game were able to contribute non-perishable food or cash donations to Freestore Foodbank as they entered the stadium. In 2016, this event resulted in Freestore Foodbank gaining over 12,000 pounds of food and over $22,000 in cash donations. These donations go directly to helping local families in need of food and other support for the holiday season and beyond.
2017 marks the thirtieth consecutive year of the partnership between the Bengals and Freestore Foodbank to run this operation.
Toys for Tots Program
Another pre-game holiday drive: before their game against the Chicago Bears on December 10th, the Bengals teamed up with the United States Marine Corps for their annual Toys for Tots Collection. Volunteers from the Corps were at all stadium entrances, collecting new, unwrapped toys and cash donations from entering fans. This operation is part of a 25-year partnership between the Bengals and the Corps. In 2017, the drive benefited 54,000 children in the eight-county, three-state area of Greater Cincinnati.
A.J. Green and Dre Kirkpatrick Bicycle Giveaway
In past years, Bengals players Andrew Whitworth, Vontaze Burfict, and Adam Jones have donated bicycles to local elementary school children. This year, two other players followed that example.
A.J. Green and Dre Kirkpatrick spend this past Tuesday at Cincinnati’s St. Bernard Elementary School. Each child was give a bicycle, courtesy of the two players. Both spent the day with students, providing each with not just a bicycle but a memorable experience that they hope far outlasts it.
Is that Santa Claus? 🎅🏻🎄🎁
“I’m starting to be a Cincinnati native, and I’ve gotta take care of home.” pic.twitter.com/wLflTu9x7O
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) December 19, 2017
Andy Dalton’s Holiday Hearts Program
While the Bengals’ organization runs several programs during the holiday season, some players take it upon themselves to be generous. Andy Dalton and his wife, Jordan, run the most prominent of these efforts, not just seasonally but throughout the year.
— Local 12/WKRC-TV (@Local12) December 8, 2017
On December 8th, the Andy & Jordan Dalton Foundation once again hosted their annual Holiday Hearts event. This year, they invited twelve families, to whom they provided a multitude of services. These included a free dinner, dessert-making, and a Build-a-Bear station for the children, among other things. Each family also received an assortment of gifts, including free Christmas trees.