From Long Beach to Pittsburgh and now Kansas City, JuJu Smith-Schuster is continuing his holiday tradition of helping families in need.
The Long Beach Poly High School grad and current wide receiver for the Kansas City Chiefs gave a holiday surprise to over 50 families in the Kansas City area last week.
Smith-Schuster, along with his JuJu Foundation, paid off nearly $10,000 in layaways at a Burlington store in the Kansas City area, helping families acquire gifts and holiday essentials.
“I know how it is for families who aren’t fortunate enough to get the gifts that they want for their kids, so this is a way the JuJu Foundation gives back to those in need,” Smith-Schuster said. “At some point in my life, I was once in their position. There were years where I didn’t get gifts, there’s years where I had to share gifts, so I can see their side of it. … Knowing how it feels to be in their shoes at a young age, and how it feels now knowing that I can give back—it’s pretty cool.”
Smith-Schuster is in his first season with the Chiefs after spending his first five NFL seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
He said he was particularly excited about this event, not only because it’s during Christmas time, but because it’s his first community event in Kansas City.
“I love it so much because being part of the community is what it’s all about,” said Smith-Schuster. “These people are die-hard fans. They support us every Sunday, every game that we play in, and it’s nice that I have an opportunity to be a good role model for these kids and give back to the community.”
This event continued the partnership between the JuJu Foundation and the nonprofit Pay Away the Layaway, which helps families nationwide get gifts and toys during the holidays by paying off their layaway items.
During the event, Smith-Schuster was asked what he might want for Christmas this year, and his answer shouldn’t be surprising for anyone who has followed his career on the field.
“To be honest, I came here for one reason, I came here to win a Super Bowl,” Smith-Schuster said with his trademark smile. “So that’s my Christmas wish.”