By Lou Ponsi / Orange County Register
Thanksgiving came a few days early for dozens of families in Santa Ana, courtesy of an NFL football player and an Orange County nonprofit.
Armed with serving spoons, the Los Angeles Chargers’ Casey Hayward Jr. and some teammates stood behind a buffet line on Monday, Nov. 25, and dished out turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and the rest of the trimmings to students and families at Washington Elementary School.
Through Hayward’s Hands, a charity founded by his mother in Perry, Georgia, Hayward has been looking for outreach opportunities locally since joining the Chargers in 2016.
“I’ve been doing this since 2015, but I’ve been doing it back home, where I’m from in Georgia,” said Hayward, who was nominated for the Walter Peyton Man of the Year award in 2017. The award is given to NFL players for significant contributions on and off the field.
“I told my team I want to expand it to where I’m playing,” the defensive back said. “We came up with a great idea to bring it to the area where I’m actually living.”
Hayward reached out to representatives at Orange County United Way, who recommended the families at Washington Elementary School as worthy recipients for a Thanksgiving meal.