By Edward Lee
8:00 AM EST, November 21, 2012
With each passing year, the connection between Lardarius Webb and the Webster Kendrick Boys & Girls Club strengthens.
For the fourth consecutive year, the Ravens cornerback and the Lardarius Webb Foundation sponsored a Thanksgiving event for the club Tuesday evening, and the event gets larger each November. After distributing more than 300 turkeys and side dishes in 2011, the drive delivered more than 500 turkeys to families who stood in a line that snaked from just outside of the gymnasium at Callaway Elementary School – which shares the same building as the Boys & Girls Club – to a paved section outside of an entrance.
Webb, who was joined by teammate and defensive end Pernell McPhee, clearly was enjoying himself during the drive, posing for pictures snapped on cell phones and signing children’s sweaters, jackets and hats.
“I feel like I have to show up and let them know what is reality,” Webb said. “Being here and being an NFL player, it’s my way of showing them that dreams can come true. Sometimes they think that NFL players are artificial, something above everything. So I try to come here and let them see that this is real life, that you can become anything you want to amount to. I just love coming out here. I love the kids, and my foundation is all about the kids.”
Webb doesn’t limit himself to helping out the Boys & Girls Club simply around the holiday season. He paid for several students who earned a B+ average to attend a Ravens game earlier in the season and invited another group of students to one of his bowling events in Timonium, where he talked to each child individually.
Terri Joyner-Johnson, the club’s unit director for the past five years, said that after learning that the club’s wireless Internet access was disconnected, Webb told her he would ask his assistants to research the price of installing a new router and modem.
“He has been very much a role model for the children,” Joyner-Johnson said. “He has come out and helped us, and I feel like if I ask him to help, he will do it. He’s been a blessing.”
Webb’s expected attendance Tuesday evening was the talk of the school on Tuesday, according to Lisa Smith, the principal at Callaway Elementary School. Required to wear uniforms to school, the students were allowed to wear purple to welcome Webb.
But the children’s excitement sometimes got a little out of hand, Smith said.
“We had more children to talk to in the principal’s office because they were just so excited,” she said with a smile. “The children have been really excited, really hyper. It’s amazing to see.”
Webb, who also helped deliver 150 turkeys at The Berea Temple earlier Tuesday and 50 more to the Aberdeen Boys & Girls Club Monday, said his goal is to eventually help give 1,000 turkeys.
“On Thanksgiving, if I can feed 1,000 families, I would like to do that because that’s an extra family that I’m helping out,” he said. “If I’m able to do it, why not? That’s the right thing to do. When I was younger, I wish I could have had someone help out my family when we were in times of need. During the holidays, mothers and fathers are going through different types of things, and I just try to give them a little bit of relief.”
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