By Teresa Varley
With the need greater than ever this year the Steelers did their part to make sure that kids would have toys on Christmas morning.
Quarterback Charlie Batch helped to collect for Toys for Tots at the Waterfront in Homestead. Batch was joined by some of his teammates, who signed autographs in return for the donations.
"It's something we feel if we can do our part to put a smile on someone's face during the holiday season that is what we will do," said Batch. "I am really excited about the way it has grown. People really came out and gave.
"That's the one good thing about Christmas. It brings out the holiday spirit. You hear it's better to give than receive and we see that during this event.
The event got a huge turnout with toys donated ranging from dolls and games to a new bike.
"You look at some of the toys and its like, wow, that's pretty good," said Batch. "It's nice that the people go out there and give the effort to buy the toys."
Running back Willie Parker, linebacker LaMarr Woodley and quarterback Dennis Dixon teamed with FedEx Ground to host a toy drive benefitting Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh at the Mall at Robinson.
"Everything was great. The crowd was a nice turnout and it was for a good cause," said Parker. "I know we got a lot of toys. The main thing is the kids in the hospital that can't go home for Christmas, we brought Christmas to them."
The players also signed autographs for those who made a toy donation, with the toys being given to the hospital's Child Life Department, which provides support and assistance to children and their families who are adjusting to illness or hospitalization.
Fans lined up before the mall even opened and over 500 people were there once things got started.
"It was real amazing," said Woodley. "There were a lot of good toys donated. It was just fun. It's for a good cause. A lot of those kids are going to have to spend time there during the holidays so it will be a cheerful gift for them."