‘Change Our Future’ spreads holiday cheer in Philadelphia

Photo Credit: Jennifer McGraw/Staff Writer

Have you ever met a 6’8 elf?

How about an elf who plays safety in the NFL?

While they aren’t exactly Santa’s elves, Rodney McLeod joined his former teammates Tuesday evening to give back to Philly youth and spread holiday cheer.

Video Credit: Jennifer McGraw/Staff Writer

Through Change Our Future’s 12 Days of Christmas, their initiative “Fill-A-Cart” helped lighten the holiday shopping load for 20 families.

The evening kicked off with remarks from the McLeods followed by the families getting matched up with volunteers – including Eagles Jordan Mailata, Darius “Big Play” Slay and Derek Barnett.

“This is a place that we have now called our home and we’re just so thankful to be back here in a place of love with our community and people that we care deeply about,” Rodney said.

Families flooded to the toy aisle, getting just about everything the children could wish for. Families also took advantage of picking up needed items like mouthwash and storage containers thanks to donations made to give these families a well-deserved happy holiday season. Whether a loss of a job or a loved one, families were nominated because of negative impacts that made it harder for them to live happily. During this time of year, the McLeods want to make sure these families are supported.

Families could pick up anything they wanted, ranging from toys to necessities and even clothing. The shopping trip Tuesday evening provided families the opportunity to lighten the load brought on by the pandemic.

“’12 Days of Christmas’ is so special to Change Our Future. One, it’s the holidays, it’s my favorite time of the year, but it’s also this time for us to bring happiness and joy to all the different families, especially during the pandemic.” Erika said.

“We are so happy to be a part of this. We love helping people, and with our church, it’s what we do. Being out in the community and giving back is what we’re all about.” said Dare to Imagine Church Outreach Director, Marquita Neal. 

Neal went on to explain that the church nominated two families: one who had lost their mother so their aunt took in five of her nieces and nephews. The other family had a woman lose her job.

“We just want to be able to do anything we can to make people’s life better but also this time of season we just have to do everything we can to help people,” Neal said.

“It’s just a nice evening for us to surround ourselves with other families. Rodney and I pride ourselves on being very family-oriented but also very touchable foundation and to be amongst these poeple that are are willing to accept the help to enjoy the love from us,” Erika said.

“”That’s what it’s about. It’s about everybody lending a hand, looking to help, looking to serve and that’s what makes a community special,”” Rodney said.

Change Our Future has one last stop on December 12 in Indianapolis for its “Fill-A-Cart” event. Check out Change Our Future for more ways to donate during the holiday season.