WR Andrew Hawkins provided 150 kids from Cleveland Recreation Centers a special holiday experience through his personal generosity. #give10
For Andrew Hawkins, this was the perfect kind of deja vu.
The Browns wide receiver provided a Christmas surprise to remember Monday for the second consecutive year. With 150 kids from Cleveland Recreation Centers packed inside FirstEnergy Stadium's Kardiac Club, Hawkins revealed they'd be going home with more than just a T-shirt and a Browns winter hat from his Holiday Takeover.
As the children munched on pizza, Hawkins revealed he wasn't standing in front of a black wall. Instead, a curtain opened and unveiled a treasure trove of toys, gadgets and anything else a kid would love to have in his or her room.
The gifts were funded exclusively by Hawkins, who orchestrated a similar event last year alongside former teammate Miles Austin at Cleveland's Walton Investment School. The event was Hawkins' second stop of the day, as he made a visit earlier Monday to the Cleveland Christian home to spread holiday cheer.
"It's awesome to give back to the kids," Hawkins said. "God's blessed me tremendously to where I am today. I always felt like it was my duty to do as much as I can for everybody else growing up in my situation or even less."
One by one, the children came to the stage to pick out their gifts, which were approximately valued at $150 per child, after their number was called out by Hawkins or one of his Browns teammates (Brian Hartline, Pierre Desir and Johnson Bademosi) who also attended the event. With the pile dwindling and only a few more kids left to pick out their gifts, Hawkins summoned the final three to the stage for one last surprise.
These patient children were respectively rewarded with either a laptop computer, Playstation 4 or XBox.
"The parents might be working their butts off and realize they won't have much for Christmas this go around," Hawkins said. "To be able to provide for these kids and these families, it's nothing about me, it's more about them."
Hawkins was inspired by a moment in his childhood he'll never forget. One year, money was tight in his household and it wasn't going to be a big Christmas. To the surprise of everyone in his family, a group of friendly strangers brought by gifts to make it a memorable holiday.
"I always remember that feeling," Hawkins said. "I always wanted to give it back to other people."
Browns staff members played a big part in the event, too, as a number of them #gave10 by spending Monday morning shopping and compiling the gifts.
In 2015, the Browns are continuing their commitment to #give10 through the team's First and Ten initiative. Launched in June 2014, the Cleveland Browns First and Ten campaign is the team's community program, established to inspire fans to volunteer in and help their communities throughout the world by volunteering for 10 hours each year. Through First and Ten, the Browns are the only NFL club to promote a long-term volunteering program that unifies the team and its entire fan base, with the goal of impacting every individual's city across the globe, as well as the franchise's local community. For more information, visit www.ClevelandBrowns.com/community.