Nick Oza/The Republic
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Holiday cheer has spread around the Valley. In the middle of the 2017 NFL season fans and players alike have taken to malls and shopping centers around the country. From Chandler to Surprise, the season of giving has taken hold, even the Arizona Cardinals are joining in on the fun. Over the last two months there have been numerous events where Cardinals players have spent their own money and taking time to make a difference in the community. Here are some of the ways Cardinals players are spreading joy this holiday season.

Honey Badger Cares

Tyrann Mathieu worked with Heart for the City, an organization which offers sports programs, after-school and summer programs, workforce development and other services to the inner-city youth of Phoenix. Mathieu purchased and passed out $10,000 worth of food, gifts and cash to 10 children in nine different homes in need during the holiday season. Each family received two hams, a bag of potatoes, a bag of oranges, a pack of dinner rolls and juice. Mathieu handed out gifts like plush animals, bicycles and Cardinals clothing. Of the $10,000, a total of $1,000 was allocated to each child, and what remained after the food and gifts was put on a cash card for the families to use. It averaged to $800 per family. Mathieu has teamed up with the organization for the last two years. 

Cardinals Provide Support

Mathieu’s secondary partner, Patrick Peterson, got involved in the season of giving with his Shop with a Jock program. The program focuses on low-income and at-risk inner city families. The families joined Peterson’s teammates as they shopped at a local retail store where they also received pre-packaged holiday meals. Peterson hopes to positively affect families who otherwise would have had a limited Christmas. 

Peterson also took time out to visit Dignity Health Chandler Regional Medical Center. The cornerback visited new parents in the NICU where he handed out stuffed animals and shirts to parents and children. The Cardinals as a team visited Phoenix Children Hospital with their spouses in tow for the team’s Giving Tuesday. The program happens near the end of each year where players and their wives help with fundraising for the hospital. During the day of their visit, the Cardinals organization matched any and all donations thrice the original amount. This season the players and their spouses assisted with the birthday celebration for those celebrating during the month of December. It was a luau themed party. 

The Arizona Cardinals are struggling on the football field this season but they remain pivotal partners in the community. While the team lacks a post season spot this year, there is a spot the Cardinals players and their families will always occupy, the hearts of so many families in Arizona.

– Ryan Adverderada is the Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Cardinals. Like and follow on and Facebook.

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