Texans' wide receiver a holiday giver to kids

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |

HOUSTON, Texas (Christian Examiner) -- This week 11 children currently in the care of Houston area Child Protective Services participated in an 80-second holiday shopping spree that totaled more than $16,000 at a local Toys 'R' Us -- courtesy of Houston Texans' Wide Receiver Andre Johnson,

With the help of Texans cheerleaders, the youth filled shopping carts with as many games and goods as they could wrangle together in the given time.

From bikes and DVDs to stuffed animals, doll houses and more, bright blue shopping carts lined four registers and reportedly totaled $16,266.26. As Johnson strolled the lanes to look at all the gifts, the credit card company called to make sure the climbing transactions weren't fraudulent spending, according to ESPN.

The spree has been an annual tradition for Johnson since 2007 and is part of his charity work through the Andre Johnson Foundation. Johnson began the foundation in 2003 after his rookie season to help children and teens growing up in single-parent homes.

He credits his ability to identify with the kids as part of why he started the tradition.

"I always felt like if I was ever to make it, I wanted to give back," Johnson said. "You go through stuff as a kid growing up. You understand certain situations. I understand some of the things these kids go through."

The Independent Journal Review reported that, although Johnson's Foundation hosts several community events for children in the Houston area and his hometown of Miami, the Christmas shopping spree is his favorite.

"I think it's probably the best one because you get to see the kids really enjoy it," Johnson said. "That's what this season is about. It's something I look forward to. The kids are happy, they get what they want for Christmas, and that's all that matters. "