EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Members of the Vikings family shared the spirit of the season with several families through a connection with the Salvation Army.
Vikings players Chad Greenway, Everson Griffen and Greg Jennings, assistant offensive line coach Hank Fraley, head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman and his staff presented the families with gifts at Winter Park last Saturday.
The gifts fulfilled needs like furniture and cookware and also wants like toys and electronics for the children.
"We had an awesome adopt-a-family type event where some of the players and coaches and training staff adopted six of our families that come into our centers for service and bought them most things on their wish list, which was really cool," said Julie Orlando with the Twin Cities Salvation Army. "These are families that come into our South Minneapolis location seeking food assistance at our food shelf, whether their children are involved in our afterschool program or whether they just need help paying a utility bill, they come in and get connected, and through the course of getting to know the family and helping them determine what their needs are."
The families were able to tour the team's headquarters and step into the huddle as the team broke down the final practice of the week before Minnesota headed to Miami.
Greenway, the Vikings 2014 Community Man of the Year, upheld his commitment to his adopted family a day after dealing with the loss of his father, Alan Greenway.
Orlando said the families appreciated how genuine the Vikings were in connecting with the families and it was a great opportunity for the families to learn what the players and staff members are like off the field.
"The looks were priceless," Orlando said. "I think anyone who was here saw the joy exuding from the children's faces. The grandmother of the family that Chad Greenway adopted had tears in her eyes, and that was just awesome to see."
"We're in a great position to be able to help families that can help themselves but can't do as much as they'd like for their children, and what the Salvation Army represents, what they do to help shelter, to help provide different things families need, it's an awesome organization to help partner with," Jennings said. "It's the season of giving, and for me, it means a lot to know that I can help a family out because it sheds light not only to myself, but to my children, to understand that everybody doesn't live the lifestyle you live, and everybody should be able to have someone in their lives that will help try to pull them up a little higher to do some things that will make everyone smile."