Gerald McCoy and family surprised 22 Bay-area families in need with gifts at the 4th annual McCoy Family Christmas.
More than 60 individuals facing tough times this holiday season will now have a Christmas to remember thanks to Gerald and Ebony McCoy.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle, along with his wife and their four children, showed the power of paying it forward by surprising 22 families with gifts on Monday night.
"I always say God blesses us so we can bless others," said McCoy. "The blessings we receive are not about us, it's about what we do with them and how we can touch other people's lives with them."
Now in its fourth year, the "McCoy Family Christmas" initiative has surprised underserved children and parents in need of support with a memorable holiday experience, courtesy of the Buccaneers captain and his family. As is their custom, the team effort included participation from McCoy's entire family wanting to share in the season of giving.
"This thing is about family and bringing families together," said McCoy. "Not every family is privileged the way my family is. You may not know what a person is going through and what just getting a doll can do for somebody. My family, we do everything together – that's what we want to promote."
Twelve families from Metropolitan Ministries and 10 families selected by United Way Suncoast were invited to the team's facility for the special experience. Gathered in the Buccaneers' auditorium, the gregarious McCoy appeared in front of the unsuspecting group with the excitement of a kid on Christmas. After revealing the true reason for the get-together – founded on their steadfast family values and desire to give back – McCoy led the group on a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility that wrapped up in the facility dining room, Typically filled with hungry players, the room was now filled with presents from each child's wish list, much to the excitement of all in attendance.
"I was shocked," said Quanita Davenport of St. Petersburg. "For my children, this means they're able to have a Christmas. My son was sick and I missed a lot of time so I was wondering how I was going to get everything. Gerald totally shocked me and they got amazing gifts – more than I can ask for."
For McCoy, the event was just another example of the true meaning of Christmas.
"It's a blessing to us just to see them smile," added McCoy. "To see somebody else smiling because we have so much joy in our life, we just want to bring that to somebody else."