Outside the winds were whipping and temperatures dropping, a sure sign that cold weather is on the way.
But inside, the feeling was nothing but warmth.
Steelers’ players took 46 kids chosen by the New Kensington Salvation Army shopping at Macy’s at Ross Park Mall as a part of Project Bundle-Up, a Salvation Army program that provides winter outerwear for needy children in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
“It’s such a wonderful event,” said Major Robert Reel, the Salvation Army Division Commander. “To have the Steelers come in and do this for kids from the Pittsburgh area and do some shopping for hats, coats, scarves and mittens means so much. The kids are so excited. For them to get all of the new stuff, that is really special. To know a Steelers player took them shopping it’s great.
“The need has increased incredibly. We just started for this year and served 2,800 more people than last year at this time. We are serving the kids and the Steelers are the ones helping us serve.”
A total of 34 players took part in the shopping night, being paired with at least one child to help them find a winter coat, hat, gloves and scarf, something they might otherwise go without during the winter.
“I enjoy it,” said
“The girls have a lot of joy and enjoy us being out here,” said Dwyer. “It’s a fun opportunity for us to give back. I had a good time.”
“This is awesome. It’s great,” said Ward. “Any time you come out and help, especially when it gets cold in the winter, it’s great.”
As they picked out the winter gear, Ward had him model his new attire and show it all off, both of them laughing and having fun the entire time.
“Any time you can dress them up it’s fun - it’s like my Ken doll,” joked Ward. “I want to put him in clothes with style because I am a stylish guy. I want to make sure he is dressed nice and warm. “
Some of the kids went for classic styles, but a display of fun and warm animal hats definitely caught the attention of some young shoppers.
“Do you see the hat we just picked out?” said
“We had a blast,” said Foote. “We had fun. We have some hyper kids out here. They are excited and fired up. The kids are innocent and having a blast. Growing up, having the opportunity to shop with some NFL players, I would go crazy.”
The players had just as much fun as the kids, quickly breaking the ice and joking back and forth.
“It’s fun. To give back is great,” said Will Gay. “He is so happy to meet a Steelers player and that makes me happy. It put a smile on his face. You look forward to this every year. It’s great to spend the time with the kids.”
“They gave me three really good kids,” said Clark. “It’s amazing. It’s a good time. It’s fun to come out here.”
As things were winding down, with the players saying goodbye to the kids, the smiles were plentiful.
“It was exciting to make the kids day and see them get what they want,” said rookie