Houston’s Johnson hosts shopping spree for at-risk children

Published On December 5, 2012 | By Meredith Perri

In a time when reading about the NFL can cause sadness, Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson has given sports fans around the world a reason to smile, according to Yahoo Sports. 

The 31-year-old Johnson spent close to $20,000 at Toys “R” Us on Tuesday when he held what is becoming an annual shopping spree for at-risk children through his foundation, the Andre Johnson Charitable Foundation. The spree gave 12 children, who were chosen by Child Protective Services, 80 seconds to fill up their carts with all of the toys they could possibly desire.

“You hear a minute and 20 seconds, and you don’t think that’s a long time, but you’d be surprised by what these kids can put into their buckets,” Johnson said after the spree.

The children who participated in the event are between the ages of 8 and 16, and all of them have suffered some form of abuse at the hands of a parent. The children now live with extended family members whom they made sure to get toys for as well.

Out of all the events Johnson’s foundation puts on throughout the year in Houston and Johnson’s hometown in Miami, Johnson said the Toys “R’ Us shopping spree is his favorite.

“I think it’s probably the best one because you get to see the kids really enjoy it,” Johnson said. “That’s what this season is about. It’s something I look forward to. The kids are happy, they get what they want for Christmas, and that’s all that matters.”

Johnson followed up the spree by bringing Christmas presents to 800 students at Houston’s Bastian Elementary School as part of the Houston Police Department’s Blue Santa program.

“I grew up in a single-parent home and I was fortunate to achieve my goals,” Johnson said. “So, whatever goals you have, just keep them out in front of you, don’t let anybody distract you away from them, because there will be distractions that try to detour you away from your goals. That’s the biggest thing.”

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About The Author

Meredith is a junior journalism student at Boston University. She has covered nearly every sport for The Daily Free Press, BU’s independent student newspaper, but mainly writes about women’s hockey. Meredith has also covered Major League Baseball as an intern with SNY and MetsBlog.com. Follow her on Twitter at @mere579.