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Keeping kids warm this winter

On a chilly, wet Pittsburgh day, with the temperature a stark reminder that winter is soon approaching, it's hard to imagine anyone not having warm clothes for what lies ahead.

Unfortunately, the sad reality is there are people in the Pittsburgh area who could face the brutal conditions that winter can bring without the necessities so many take for granted, like a warm coat and gloves.

That is why the Steelers once again teamed with Project Bundle-Up to take kids from Pittsburgh Banksville Elementary School, through the Salvation Army Corps, shopping for winter outwear at Dick's Sporting Goods at the Waterfront.

"It's fun to be with kids from the local community and shop," said linebacker T.J. Watt. "The kids had a good time. We got everything on the checklist. They will be warm enough and have swag for the winter season.

"Growing up in Wisconsin, knowing how important it is for the extremities, the toes and fingers, to be warm, that's why when they picked out gloves, I made sure they are perfect for snowballs. Anyway we can help out and just have fun reaching out to the community is something I am happy to do."

The Salvation Army's Project Bundle-Up is a program started by two late Pittsburgh staples, Patricia Rooney, the wife of late Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney, and Joe DeNardo, the former WTAE-TV weatherman, more than 30 years ago.

The Steelers teamed up with Salvation Army for the annual Project Bundle-Up

The Steelers have been participating in the shopping day for years, teaming up with the local kids to outfit them in a coat, hat, gloves and boots.

"These are children that can desperately use this gift of warm winter clothing," said Major Greg Hartshorn of the Salvation Army. "But to pair them up with people they see on television, people they can look up to and have that one-on-one treatment as they pick out their items can have a beautiful impact on their lives."

After the kids enjoyed lunch, they were paired with the players, getting to know each other and working together to pick out the perfect warm clothes.

"I love kids," said quarterback Dwayne Haskins. "I have a lot of nieces and nephews. Also being able to give back to the community and spend some time with the kids. And most importantly, getting them this stuff is so important. Winter gets tough around here. I grew up in an environment where if it snowed, you had to go outside and shovel the snow. If you were going to school, you had to go bundled up. It's important to make sure you have the right clothes to make sure you don't get sick and make sure you are safe."

Also taking part in the shopping were receiver Chase Claypool, fullback Derek Watt, tight ends Eric Ebron and Zach Gentry, offensive lineman J.C. Hassenauer and linebackers Ulysees Gilbert and Derrek Tuszka.

"I feel like when I was younger, I used to be one of these kids," said Claypool. "I think it's super cool to come full circle and be able to give back.

"I experienced a little Pittsburgh winter last year and people need these things. Unfortunately, some people can't afford it. It's good to be able to provide these things for the kids."

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