"Of all the things that we do, this to me sort of puts you in the mood for Christmas because you are doing something for somebody else. And I promise you, you will get more out of this than the kids coming in here."
That's what Glenn Campbell, co-founder of Lids, told Colts players, Lids employees, and volunteers gathered at Wendell Phillips Elementary School on Tuesday afternoon.
For 13 years, Lids, their parent company, Genesco, and the Colts have partnered for Cold Feet, Warm Shoes and Hats – to outfit underprivileged kids with new shoes and hats for the holiday season.
"For me, Christmas doesn't start until this event starts," Campbell said. "This is what the holiday is all about. It gives you that good, warm feeling."
The Indianapolis Colts partnered with LIDS to help outfit underprivileged youth with new shoes and warm knit hats for the holiday season at Hawthorne Elementary.
Best of all, it gives kids that good, warm feeling – just before the cold weather arrives.
"The timing couldn't be any better, about a week and a half before winter break for our families," said Principal Paul Wirth. "Our students don't have a lot of resources at home, so this is a great opportunity for them to get shoes, a hat, socks, some gloves, a snack or two to take home with them, some Colts gear, things that they wouldn't normally be privy to."
Colts players, cheerleaders, and Colts mascot, Blue, worked alongside Lids employees and volunteers to help the kids pick out new hats and size them for shoes.
"You want to leave a little space because they're growing so fast," said safety Darius Butler, who calls himself "top-notch" when it comes to tying shoes.
"Now, jump," he told the boy standing in front of him with his new shoes on and expertly tied.
"I would have them run around, but there are a lot of people here. So for safety precautions, I have them jump," he said. "You've got to make sure you've got good grip, good base, and you go from there."
The kids may not know who the players are, what position they play, or even that they're professional athletes.
"And that's perfectly fine with me, said quarterback Jacoby Brissett. "I wouldn't have it any other way. I just want them to know there's somebody that's here for them and that's coming to brighten their day."
At the end of the day, it was the kids who brightened theirs.
"The smile on their face is everything," Brissett said.
And the smiles were plenty.
"There was a little girl dancing she was so excited," said safety Matthias Farley. "That was cool."
"One kid didn't believe I was getting him new shoes," said nose tackle Joey Mbu. "It's really cool to see kids so happy that they're getting stuff for Christmas."
"The way that they smile and how excited they are to see us, that's probably the best moment," said guard Isaiah Williams.
And that's what it's really about.
"The most important thing is not what shoe they get, what socks they get, it's you talking to those students," said Campbell. "Because they want to talk to you."
"Some of the younger kids are really shy," said long snapper Luke Rhodes. "You can tell they appreciate it by their face, but they're really quiet and you can't really hear what they're saying."
"Some kids, they've just been through so much at a young age. You've just got to be able to open them up," said linebacker Edwin Jackson.
That's what he was able to do with one young boy.
"He had an animal, it was a fox. He called it Foxy," he said. "He warmed up and he put on his shoes and he loved his brand new shoes and socks."
"Foxy gave me a high five."
Christmas is a time for giving.
"It puts a lot of things in perspective," said Brissett. "I'm just honored to be out here, to be a part of it, and to be able to bring cheer to these kids."
It serves as a valuable reminder to all - that of all the gifts you give this holiday season, your time is the most precious of all.