A.J. Bouye and Jaguars Teammates Take Boys & Girls Club Children Holiday Shopping
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - 50 local children had their holiday seasons made all the more special Tuesday when Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye and several of his Jaguars teammates took them on a shopping spree at a nearby Walmart store.
"Shop With A Jock" hosts 50 children from Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Florida for a night of holiday shopping. For the third year in a row, the children were each provided with a $100 gift card and shopped alongside Bouye and teammates such as D.J. Hayden, Devine Ozigbo, Brandon Watson, Parry Nickerson, Douglas Middleton, and Tae Hayes.
"This is just something I look forward to every year; just bringing smiles to kids faces around this time," Bouye said before shopping commenced. "This is one of the funnest times of the year for me, and like I said I am just trying to bring smiles to kids faces."
Whether it was taking young boys to the video game section or helping them pick out new action figures or taking the girls to look at clothes, dolls and new bikes, Bouye and his teammates made the night a special one for every single child. The kids beamed from ear to ear as the Jaguars helped them find what to fill the cart with from aisle to aisle.
"It means a lot to these kids, that is for sure. Kids look up to the athletes," said Kevin Carrico, Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Florida vice president of operations.
'They are heroes in many senses. So to get up close and personal and meet one of their heroes, meet a superstar - but not only just meet them, but see that he cares about them and he is here to make sure that they have a Merry Christmas and provide things that they maybe wouldn't normally have without A.J. and the players stepping up. It means a lot."
Carrico said watching the kids run throughout a store for the third year in a row was special for him because he was able to see the joy on their faces as Bouye and the Jaguars helped them shop for Christmas.
"This is my third year in a row and it is kind of a controlled chaos when you give a kid $100 and say 'Get whatever you want,'" he said. "They have to do the math, figure out what they can put in their cart and then they want to buy things for their parents or their brothers and sisters. They are just overwhelmed with emotions and joy and it is really great to watch it and be part of it every year.'
For Bouye, whose second child was born earlier this season, being able to provide holiday cheer to local children was an important moment for him because he was able to make memories for young people who just want a good Christmas.
"It means a lot. My daughter was going to come today, she was excited, but she didn't take a nap yet," Bouye said with a smile.
Bouye beamed as he went from aisle to aisle, high-fiving his teammates and helping countless children fill up a shopping cart to the brim. As he told JaguarMaven, he is still one of them after all.
"I am still a little kid at heart, so I look forward to things like this."