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3 NYJETS deliver Christmas to Newark shelter.


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Three Jets players brighten Christmas for residents of Newark shelter

Published: Saturday, December 25, 2010, 12:21 PM Updated: Saturday, December 25, 2010, 12:47 PM

user_default.png By Ben Horowitz/The Star-Ledger

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9147842-large.jpgEnlarge Ben Solomon Azajamine Hicks, 5, hangs out with Jets punter Steve Weatherford at the Apostles' House in Newark on Christmas morning. Weatherford and teammates Nick Folk and Tanner Purdum stopped by the house, which gives shelter to those involved in domestic abuse cases. Jets visit Newark shelter gallery (18 photos)

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NEWARK — Three New York Jets football players spread a little Christmas cheer in Newark this morning when they visited an emergency shelter for women and their children.

“My girls love it,” said Chanetal Eunice, a resident of Apostles’ House on Grant Street and the mother of Azajamina, 5, and Aniylah, 1. “They get to meet a lot of different people and make new friends besides the ones they see at the shelter every day. It’s a good life experience.”

The special-teams trio of placekicker Nick Folk, punter Steve Weatherford and Tanner Purdum, the long snapper for both, showed up at 9 a.m. The players chatted with the residents and signed photographs and footballs for their children.

“We enjoy giving back to any community we can, and Newark is part of our community here in New Jersey,” Folk said. “It’s an awesome feeling. You can’t ask for anything more.”

Folk, a native of Los Angeles whose girlfriend lives in Dallas, said “we celebrated Christmas a little early this year.” With his family out of the area, coming to the shelter was a rewarding way to spend Christmas morning, Folk said.

Said Purdum, “It’s great to be able to do this on any day of the year, but doing it on Christmas makes it that much more special.”

A Jets spokesman said coach Rex Ryan changed a scheduled practice from 9 to 10:30 a.m. so the players could visit the shelter. The players were headed to Florham Park for the practice before boarding a flight to Chicago for Sunday's game against the Bears.

The shelter serves seven families headed by women who are homeless or are victims of domestic violence or substance abuse. Today’s event, sponsored by the East Orange-based Shaugher Group, also featured bags full of presents for the children and a continental breakfast for the families.

Patrice Burkett, director of Apostles’ House, said this is the sixth year Jets players have come to the Christmas celebration.

The residents “have a very good time and this makes it much easier for them.

“They don’t have families they can go to” and they also can’t afford to buy presents for their children, Burkett said.

She added that it’s particularly exciting for boys 9 and older to meet the football players. “When they see them, they get a lot of hope out of it,” she said.

That was clearly the case for 12-year-old Omnipotent Edmontson, who said he enjoys playing football. His eyes gleaming as he clutched his autographed football, Omnipotent declared Christmas 2010 “a fun day.”

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Oh man when will these off the field distractions end? This organization is like Animal House! LOL

The best the Jets could do was Nick Folk, Steve Weatherford and Tanner Pardum? Seriously?

Honestly, I'm just messing. This is a very nice story. Good for them, good job.

LOL...Things like this are why I dont get too down on certain players, for example, Folk..I hated when we signed him then he starts off strong, goes through a rough patch now hes doing good. I read an article about him earlier in the year and I like the guy, hopefully his leg can straighten up so he can hit the game winner in the SB.. Good job Jets..

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