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Steelers help kids get ready for winter

Posted Oct 3, 2017

The Steelers once again took part in a shopping day for Project Bundle-Up.

Blue sky, sunshine and temperatures in the mid-70s certainly don’t make you think about winter, and actually that combination makes you think about everything but winter.

The reality, though, is that in a few short months those warm temperatures will evaporate and winter, with cold and snow, will hit.

And when it does, some local kids will be prepared.

The Steelers teamed with Project Bundle-Up to take kids from the Northern Boroughs Salvation Army Corps shopping for winter outwear on Tuesday, assuring that they will be ready when the cold weather hits.

“This is such an exciting day,” said Major Laurie Lyle with the Western Pennsylvania Division of the Salvation Army. “These kids are so excited to meet the Steelers and shop with them. It will be a memorable experience for the kids. It’s our first shopping day of the year. It’s a great way to kick if off.

“This day, it’s very helpful to keep them warm, walking to school and waiting for their bus. It might be the first time they got a new coat, sometimes they get hand-me-downs. They get to come in and pick out what they like. It’s exiting for them.”

Exciting was definitely an understatement. You could tell how special it was when you heard a six-year old girl shopping with T.J. Watt say from the heart, ‘It was so fun I could just literally explode now.’

That sentiment wasn’t just for the kids.

“This has been a lot of fun,” said Watt. “Just coming back here, giving back to the community, and giving kids clothes for the winter. It’s really nice for them to have some stuff that will last for them.”

The Salvation Army’s Project Bundle-Up is a program started by Patricia Rooney, wife of late Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney, and Joe DeNardo, retired WTAE-TV weatherman, more than 30 years ago. The Steelers have been participating in the shopping day for years, teaming up with the local kids to outfit them in a coat, scarf, hat, gloves and boots. Watt was joined at the day of shopping by Keion Adams, Brian Allen, Joshua Dobbs, L.J. Fort, Keith Kelsey, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Cameron Sutton, and Justin Thomas.

“Every time I hear Project Bundle-Up is coming up I get excited to come out here and do it,” said Fort. “It’s exciting for them to hang out with the players, they are Steelers fans, but it’s cool for us to hang out with them.

“Getting them out here I am telling them to get a coat big and warm enough. I am telling them go for warmth over coolness. We find the one in between and work with it.”

For JuJu Smith-Schuster shopping for winter clothing is something brand new. Growing up in California and attending USC he has never seen snow, never experienced the harsh winter. But he knew exactly what clothes would work for the three young girls he took shopping.

“It’s cool to be out here with the kids,” said Smith-Schuster. “I am having a great time. I come from a big family, five sisters, two brothers, all younger than me. To have an event like this, where I can spend time with the kids, it means a lot. It’s great to get them stuff for the winter.”