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Jones-Drew gets early start on holidays


There was no time to rest for Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew following Thursday night's nationally televised game against the Colts. Jones-Drew hosted a special holiday event for 70 local children early Friday morning at Toys "R" Us in the St. Johns Town Center.

More than 70 children from the Sulzbacher Center's aftercare program were treated to a special shopping spree courtesy of the Maurice Jones-Drew Foundation. The foundation purchased $100 gift cards for each child and they were able to select their favorite gifts for the holidays while also meeting the Jaguars running back.

"There was no way I was going to miss this," Jones-Drew said. "I just enjoy being around these kids and providing some joy in their life right now, especially during the holidays. I came from a single-parent home with a mom working two jobs so I know how difficult it can be on families. I have been involved with the Sulzbacher Center the last couple of years and enjoyed getting to know their staff and the opportunities they provide children."

Sulzbacher Center hosts more than 330 homeless members of the Jacksonville community each day, many of whom are children. Sulzbacher Center's aftercare programs provide families that have moved out of the shelter and into homes of their own with case management services and support.

The Maurice Jones-Drew Foundation was established earlier this year to help youth-focused organizations. Jones-Drew hosted a football camp for youth the last three years in Jacksonville and has also held camps in his hometown of Antioch, Calif. In June, Jones-Drew donated 100 sets of Reebok shoes, gloves and compression shirts to members of the Andrew Jackson High School varsity football team. He distributed backpacks in August to more than 200 area children following a training camp practice.

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