INDIANAPOLIS – It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas with the help of the Indianapolis Colts and Meijer, the Official Superstore of the Colts, who teamed up again with Team Penske to spread holiday cheer. On Tuesday, December 11, 2012, "Shop with a Colt" provided a special shopping experience for 40 underserved youth, ages 6-10, at the Southport Meijer. Colts players, Team Penske IZOD IndyCar Series drivers Will Power and Helio Castroneves and volunteers from the Colts and Meijer guided children through the store to help them with their purchases.
Santa took a brief break from his busy workshop to stop by the gathering to surprise the kids selected for this event. Colts Mascot Blue also caught the attention of the children who were from Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Central Indiana and North Grove Elementary School. The kids were able to enjoy a pizza party, compliments of Papa John's Pizza. Following dinner, each child received a $200 Meijer gift card, courtesy of the retailer, to purchase holiday gifts for themselves and their families.
The celebrity "elfs" who helped with the shopping included: Colts WR Kris Adams, WR LaVon Brazill, FB Robert Hughes, LB Shawn Loiseau, LS Matt Overton and NT Martin Tevaseu. Santa's little helpers Team Penske IndyCar Drivers Will Power and Helio Castroneves also revved up their carts for the shopping excursion.
The aisles in the store were alive with laughter and cheer as the actual moment for the little ones to begin shopping arrived. The array of gifts selected by the children for themselves and family members ranged from winter coats, clothing and jewelry to art supplies and games. Loiseau tried to keep up with sisters Jaida, 11, and Kennedy, 9, as they raced through the toy aisles. Overton helped 9-year old AJ pick out a video game that would help him stay active indoors while having fun. Adams made certain his shopping buddy 6-year old Jadyn obtained every item on her wish list. Hughes strolled with mini-fashionista 9-year old Lyric down the Disney lane. Brazill was able to crack a heartfelt smile on 10-year old Roncresha's face as they roamed the electronics area. Cousins Andrea, 8, and Rosemary, 11, were elated to be able to shop with each other and Tevaseu, who also led 10-year old Colson to the first item on his list: Meijer's red velvet cake!
Many of the children had already planned their shopping lists in advance, but they soon learned they would need to make room for one more gift. This additional gift would not be for themselves; instead, each child was also provided an additional $20 Meijer gift card to purchase a toy to donate to the "Toys for Tots" program. Two U.S. Marine Corps members made a special appearance to wish the children 'Happy Holidays' and to collect their gift donations.
Oh, what a fun night it was! The eyes of children twinkled like stars as tiny voices exclaimed "thank you" while the gifts were checked out and wrapped tight to be reopened on Christmas day.
This is the sixth year the Colts and Meijer have teamed up for this holiday shopping event, and the third year that Team Penske has been involved. This program was a part of the Colts "Community Tuesday" program and was created to give children in need the opportunity to enjoy a special holiday experience and purchase items they could not otherwise afford. Meijer has supported several Colts outreach projects this year, including the SACKing Hunger Food Drive, Thanksgiving Shopping Trip and Horseshoe Helpings event.
To view photos from the 2012 "Shop with a Colt" event, **click here**. Check out a video recap **here**.
About Colts Community Tuesdays
The Colts are proud to team up with WTHR Channel 13 for our 2012 "Community Tuesday" events. During the regular NFL season, Tuesday is the only day off players receive. As a result, the Colts utilize every Tuesday to engage their players in various charitable events and programs throughout Central Indiana. From schools and hospital visits to blood drives and holiday outreach, Colts players participate in a wide variety of "Community Tuesday" activities throughout the season. For more information on all of the Colts outreach efforts, visit www.colts.com/community.
Follow us on Twitter **@coltscommunity* and 'Like' us on Facebook at *Colts in the Community*!*
Meijer is a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer that operates 199 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky. As a pioneer of the "one-stop shopping" concept, Meijer stores have evolved through the years to include expanded fresh produce and meat departments, as well as pharmacies, comprehensive electronics departments, garden centers and apparel offerings. Additional information on Meijer and the ability to shop for more can be found at www.meijer.com. Follow Meijer on Twitter @twitter.com/Meijer or become a fan at www.facebook.com/meijer.
About Penske RacingPenske Racing is one of the most successful teams in the history of professional sports. Competing in a variety of disciplines, cars owned and prepared by Penske Racing have produced 364 major race wins, 423 pole positions and 24 National Championships, including the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title. The team has also earned 15 Indianapolis 500 victories and 165 IndyCar wins. For more information about Penske Racing, please visit www.penskeracing.com.