EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – One can never have too much Vikings gear.
That's what Christian Darrisaw and his buddy – who already was decked out in purple and gold – decided last week while on a shopping spree at SCHEELS.
Darrisaw helped a young man, who currently is a patient at Children’s Minnesota, pick out brand-new Vikings apparel, including a hoodie and Norseman baseball cap.
"We don't want to go into that section," quipped Darrisaw as they rounded a corner and saw rival teams' colors.
Darrisaw provided $500 to each family, who also received an additional $500 gift card from SCHEELS.
He smiled and laughed as he posed for photos with the special guests, and he made time to chat with each family and learn more about them.
"Children's Minnesota is grateful for the hope, support and delight that Christian, his foundation and SCHEELS provided to our patient families during such a special time of the year," said Jenny Soderholm, president of the Children's Minnesota Foundation. "Our organization thanks Christian and SCHEELS for helping put smiles on our patient families' faces this holiday season with such a memorable event."
Giving back comes naturally for Darrisaw, who has been committed to making a difference before being drafted by the Vikings in 2021.
"I really feel like it's how I was raised," said Darrisaw, who explained that he often got involved with community events through the Virginia Tech football team.
Born in Virginia and raised in Maryland, Darrisaw has fond childhood memories of waking up Christmas morning and unwrapping a PlayStation 3 or other specific items he'd added to a wish list. He also has understood from a young age, though, that many others are not as privileged to enjoy gifts – or even basic necessities – around the holidays.
It's part of the reason why Darrisaw's family members also are involved with his foundation. His mother and grandmother were among those present at SCHEELS to greet families and give them a memorable experience.
View photos of Vikings T Christian Darrisaw as he created a unique holiday experience for patients at Children's Minnesota.
"They were here for the holidays and able to come to the [Giants game]," Darrisaw said. "Having them with me on Christmas Day, having them here today, it's very important to me."
The second-year tackle also has been inspired by his offensive line teammates, who consistently place an emphasis on making an impact off the field.
"Seeing other guys give back, we don't have to do it, but we're fortunate enough to [be able to] do it," Darrisaw said. "With the things I have, I know I can give back to the community ... if I can just impact a few kids, I know it helps.
"Really every year, I try to do something [for the holidays]," he added. "Because giving back, especially [to] the city I'm playing in, is very important to me, and I'm just happy I was able to make it happen."