JuJu Smith-Schuster’s foundation picks up $25K layaway tab for families in need

Long Beach Poly alum JuJu Smith-Schuster has always had a big heart.

The second-oldest of a family of seven siblings, Smith-Schuster started a charitable foundation shortly after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers out of USC and has focused the JuJu Foundation’s efforts on the kinds of causes he wished had been there to help his family growing up: performing senior outreach, donating toys and clothes to kids, providing meals to hungry families.

Last week, the JuJu Foundation showed up at a Burlington Coat Factory store in Compton, where members of the family paid off more than $25,000 worth of gifts that had been put on layaway. Partnering with the nonprofit Pay Away the Layaway, the foundation helped 170 families at the store have a merry Christmas.

“I’m blessed to be able to give back to families in Pittsburgh and California during the holidays,” Smith-Schuster said in a statement. “We hope paying off these layaway balances will cause a sense of relief and lift the spirit of all these families.”


While Smith-Schuster himself was in Pennsylvania preparing for Monday’s game against the Bengals, several members of his family—including his mother Sammy Schuster, and father Lawrence Schuster—were at the store in Compton to personally deliver the assistance.

“I’ve been there, I know what it feels like. I know what it feels like to not make Christmas happen for your kids,” Sammy told cameras from KABC. “So, this hits home for me. That’s why we started the JuJu Foundation, so we can give hope, we can give Christmas, we can give love to families who are in need.”

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Mike and JJ go together like mac and cheese: they’re best friends, business partners and Long Beach sports experts. They’ve been working together for over a decade covering Long Beach local sports and now run the562.org, a community-funded nonprofit media outlet.