Spirit of giving alive and well

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Mewelde Moore helps a teen shop.

The true spirit of Christmas, when it's about giving and not receiving, was in full effect when Steelers players took local at-risk teens shopping as a part of "Shop With a Steeler" at American Eagle Outfitters at Ross Park Mall.

The 24 kids, all from KidsVoice, a United Way Agency, were given a $200 shopping spree to purchase clothing for themselves.

But it wasn't just about them. While the kids don't have much to call their own – they were more than willing to share, buying gifts for family and friends as well.

"It's the season of giving," said tight end Matt Spaeth. "I love being able to give back. I think most of the kids have gotten stuff for them and others. It's cool to see them get something and then turn around and give right back."

The teens each had their own fashion sense and the players didn't hesitate in letting them pick out what they wanted, but shared their opinions and took time to get to know what the kids like.

"When you give it's basically about love," said wide receiver Antwaan Randle El. "When it comes directly from the heart it's the most important thing. Giving is a big deal, not just around the holiday, but all of the time you should give as much as you can."

Joining Randle El and Spaeth were, Antonio Brown, Anthony Madison, Mewelde Moore, Stephenson Sylvester, Lawrence Timmons and Greg Warren.

"Any time we can give back we will and we love doing it when we can interact with the kids," said Warren. "Just being a Steelers player they love interacting with you. You see the enjoyment on their face and the appreciation they have for what we are doing for them.

"I have had kids want to get things for their friends or family. We do everything we can for them to make that happen. For us to be in a position to help them out that way is truly a blessing."

Some of the kids who took part live in group homes; some are victims of neglect and abuse. In all, they are young people who haven't been given a fair shake in life and the event is something that was special for them.

"This is tremendous on so many levels," said Scott Hollander, executive director of KidsVoice. "These kids aren't looking forward to the holidays because it reminds them of what they don't have. They have a lifetime memory and a chance to buy something for themselves, friends or siblings and make a wonderful occasion of something they might dread.

"This would be something any Steelers fan would love to do and couldn't have the opportunity. Here it is for these kids, for one night, they feel like the most special child in the world. It's a great gift."

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