The Watts Rams joined Los Angeles Police Department officers and the L.A. Rams on a ride on Santa’s sleigh to pass out toys throughout the Pueblo Del Rio and Watts communities. This is the third year the Rams and Watts Rams have participated in the sleigh ride.
“It feels great, amazing,” Watts Rams player Leevon Corothers said. “Giving out the toys and hanging out with my teammates, family, my coaches.”
Youth received action figures, Barbie dolls, and board games along with Super Bowl LVI caps, soccer balls, footballs, and grocery store gift cards. LAPD officer Steve Rodriguez noted how the sleigh ride has grown over the years.
“From the first year we did it, it was actually just us handing out candies with Santa Claus,” Rodriguez said. “So now we have so many partners that they want to bring toys and they’re donating toys and balls so now we’ve been having to do at least three events because we have so many toys that are donated to us.”
The sleigh stopped off in different parts of the neighborhoods and Watts Rams players handed out toys.
“I like giving back to the community,” said Watts Rams player Aaron Dantziei. “It means a lot to me.”
LAPD partnered up with the Water Buffalo Club and A Chance for Children Foundation for the sleigh ride and representatives from both organizations also helped pass out toys.
Water Buffalo Club treasurer Rick Schenkel noted how his son learned about the Watts Rams when sportscaster Bryan Gumbel did a story on them back when they were the Watts Bears and had the Water Buffalo Club donate to them.
“They needed equipment, and they needed different things,” Schenkel said. “As they needed help, we were there to help out.”
This is the first year the sleigh ride visited the Pueblo Del Rio neighborhood, according to Rams vice president of community affairs and engagement Molly Higgins.
“It gives them a sense of pride to be able to help their community and give out some toys and Super Bowl hats,” Higgins said. “It’s just an opportunity to come and love on the community and be present and in a community that we care a lot about.”
The Watts Rams have a lot to be grateful for, they received tickets to Super Bowl LVI, won the SCC Super Bowl XII at Sofi Stadium, and competed in the inaugural Inspire Change Bowl.
“It makes me feel good because we get to do a lot of fun stuff with our team,” Watts Rams player Alexis Sanchez said.
A Chance for Children Foundation has been working with the LAPD for 28 years; the foundation’s founder and executive director Tai Collins has also been working in the Pueblo Del Rio community.
“The kids get toys, the parents get gift cards for the grocery store,” Collins said. “Those things are just really needed right now.”