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Wilfork, Branch, Patriots make Christmas merrier for some kids in need

Posted by David D'Onofrio  December 18, 2012 11:34 AM
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With their final weekend before Christmas to be spent in Jacksonville, a few of the Patriots did some holiday shopping Tuesday and Wednesday -- to help those in need, of course.

Tuesday night the Patriots' Charitable Foundation partnered with the Vince Wilfork Foundation and the Patriots' Alumni Club to take 50 children from homeless shelter programs in Massachusetts and Rhode Island on a shopping spree through the Bass Pro Shops at Patriot Place. After getting dinner, each kid received a $400 gift card and was joined by Patriots players while they picked out gifts for themselves and one for a loved one as part of an evening that also featured photos with Santa, gift wrapping, crafts, games, and more.

Wilfork was there, as was Devin McCourty, Steve Gregory, Zoltan Mesko, Rob Ninkovich, Nate Solder, Matthew Slater, Kyle Love, and other Patriots both past and present. In the photo above, Michael Hoomanawanui helps with the shopping, as do Wilfork and expert wrapper Kevin Faulk in the shots below. (All photos are courtesy of the New England Patriots.)

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Wednesday it'll be Deion Branch and his family, in conjunction with the Children's Center of Blackstone Valley, taking a group of kids to do some shopping at an area Target store. Among the primary missions of the Branch's Deion Branch Foundation is to provide "support for the mental, physical, emotional well-being of children" like those served at the Pawtucket facility, which is a healing haven for victims of various types of abuse.

“Over the past week, the country has been on a roller coaster of emotions. It made me as well as many Americans realize how important children are and that they deserve a chance," Branch said in a release. "They deserve love, food, shelter and a good education. This shopping event has a special meaning for me and my family to cherish every moment and to count our blessings as we end 2012 and head into 2013.”

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About the author

Dave D'Onofrio follows Boston's pro players away from the field, court or ice, covering their interests and activities in the community and beyond. A Massachusetts native, once his dreams of More »

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