Christmas with the McCoys is a little bit different in Pro-Bowl bound Gerald’s house. Sure, there is garland strung along the balcony and a Christmas tree on display. But on the celebrated morning, you will also find the family nestled around the tree for a time of reflection.
“Gerald and I believe there is value in giving back and the importance of family and togetherness, says wife of Gerald McCoy, Ebony. “On Christmas day, we will reflect on how we spent our whole month and what it meant to each of us.”
For the fifth straight year, Buccaneers’ Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy, along with his wife Ebony and their children are spending the holiday season giving back to local families from underserved communities through the annual McCoy Family Christmas.
In partnership with United Way Suncoast and Metropolitan Ministries, nearly 40 families joined Gerald and his family for a warm holiday meal on the sprawling campus of One Buccaneer Place. The effect of his presence as guests entered the dining room was immense for both children and adults, as faces gleamed from his candid personality and authentic connection.
“So many parents, guardians, teachers or mentors brought kids here tonight and I want them to know their strength does not go unnoticed,” says McCoy. “As much as I love superheroes, to me they are the real superheroes.”
And what’s a dinner without a dance break? Led by McCoy’s 3-year-old twins, toddlers began dancing along to holiday beats with Captain Fear in the middle of dinner service. The pure joy of childhood.
As the night progressed, Gerald offered to host the dinner guests on a special tour of the all-new indoor practice facility, while sharing insight into the significance of the new structure. “I have been here for 8 years and this is the first time we have had an indoor facility -you get to see it before many people,” shared McCoy.
While Gerald and his family led the group closer to the indoor facility, they were met by Whoville characters, a nod to a McCoy family favorite, who would help disclose the biggest surprise of the night. Decked with holiday wish lists compiled discreetly with care, the McCoy family created the “Christmas morning experience” inside the indoor practice facility for all in attendance.
Bikes, headphones and playhouses fit for their favorite super hero or princess. Each family had a Christmas tree to call their very own and items from their wish list tucked underneath. One child expressed she was so excited she could ride her brand-new bike all the way home.
Beyond the tangible gifts, the evening offered light to families in need during the stressful holiday season. “Tonight, gives so much hope and happiness, shares Tim Marks, CEO and President of Metropolitan Ministries. “This is so much more than a cleat for Gerald McCoy (referencing Gerald McCoy’s My Cause My Cleats initiative during week 13), he’s always highlighting single parents and the families here tonight will not forget him and this moment.”
“We wanted to show how the McCoys do things", says McCoy. "The meals, the music- having a blast, not many rules- that’s why you see kids riding around on bikes in the indoor practice facility. That’s what we do in the McCoy household.”