By Mark Eckel, Player Engagement Insider
Mike Daniels can’t wait for Christmas 2018.
Daniels, the Green Bay Packers veteran defensive lineman, just completed his first, Mike Daniels Shop with a Jock 2017, and is already looking forward to doing it again next year.
Shop with a Jock, which took place Monday night December 11th, saw Daniels take 50 kids from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeastern Wisconsin on a holiday shopping spree at the Walmart store on West Mason Street in Green Bay.
Each of the 50 children, whose ages ranged from third grade to high school , were given a $100 gift card to use at their pleasure. After the shopping was complete, Longhorn Steakhouse catered a dinner for all involved. They were also given a souvenir t-shirt from the event.
“It was a great time. I had a great time,’’ Daniels said. “Whenever you can give back, it’s excellent. We took a lot of kids, gave them some gift cards and let them roam throughout the store and get whatever they wanted.’’
Daniels, who was joined by teammates safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, cornerback Josh Hawkins and defensive tackle Isaac Lunsford, had a group of six young ladies who he took throughout the store.
“It was amazing,’’ Daniels said “I had a group of girls, one in high school, one in seventh grade, a fifth grader, two fourth graders and a third grader. It was Big Mike and a bunch of girls. We were in the doll section a lot of the time, but it was really fun.’’
Daniels, a noted cartoon connoisseur, especially when it comes to Disney, impressed the girls with how much he knew about the items they wanted to buy.
“Yeah,’’ he said with a laugh. “I think they were impressed by my knowledge of the Disney stuff. I could see they were surprised that I knew some of the things they were buying. I’ve always loved cartoons in general, especially the Disney stuff. I’m just a giant kid at heart. So, to be able to roam through the toy aisles with the kids and help them pick out some stuff that they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get, or in some cases wouldn’t have been able to pick out anything, it was really fun. It was great. For a lot of the kids this was their Christmas.’’
That was the point of the event. To give kids who might not have the kind of Christmas they see and hear about, have some fun and get some presents. Daniels and his teammates made it even brighter. To kids in Green Bay, a Packer player is someone very special. And the players know that as well.
“The kids respond to you differently because of that, and that’s important to me about being a NFL player, because of the way kids look up to us,’’ Daniels said. “It means a lot to them and to us.
“(Green Bay) is a small town and everybody knows you. People don’t freak out when they see you, because they’re going to see you in the store, or wherever, out jogging. Small town, very family oriented, I’ve never played anywhere else, but I can guarantee you this is the best.’’
And that’s what Daniels wants Shop with a Jock 2018 to be. He’s already thinking about it.
“I can’t wait to do it again next year,’’ he said “I’m already looking forward to it. Now, I know what to expect and I can get some more of the guys to come out for it and really expand it. It’s always better once you know what’s going on in advance. Next year is going to be even bigger and even better. I can’t wait.’’