Now, we’re learning that it destroyed the equipment of a youth football team, but it couldn’t destroy the team’s spirit. Thursday, the squad got a big boost from their neighbors in the NFL.READ MORE: Legislation Calls For Defunding Of Newly Opened Supervised Injection Centers In Manhattan
In a year of so many tough times and hard hits, coach Joshua McWilliams has taught his young Passaic County Cougars to push through and persevere.
“Life is full of adjustments,” he told CBS2’s Jessica Layton. “We always tell the kids, don’t quit.”
But when the remnants of Hurricane Ida plowed through Paterson and flooding destroyed their uniforms and equipment, it was another blow that was tough to bear.
“All of our stuff got washed up in the flood,” seventh grader Dahmir Brown said.
“They had to use hand-me-downs and stuff that was smelly,” mom Marcy Cruz said.
Then Thursday during practice, they got a giant surprise — a $10,000 gift from the New York Giants and Dunkin’ Donuts and 80 brand new uniforms.
“It means a lot. It does. It means almost the world because football is my passion,” seventh grader Nevaeh Ortega said.READ MORE: David Banks To Be Named New York City Schools Chancellor
“I think it was awesome … Because, just, the Giants. Just the Giants!” 9-year-old Darryl Luck said.
The kids were clearly overjoyed, and the parents are proud of the program.
“It gives us some hope, right? That it’s not that we’re just in Paterson and nobody cares. People actually care,” team mom Flormaria Gonzalez said.
“I think a lot of times we get forgotten and, um, the kids, they deserve things like this to know people care about them,” mom Sjone Luck said.
“You teach caring, you teach family. Those are some of the values of football that these kids start to understand,” said Ethan Medley, the Giants director of community relations and youth football.
The real lesson on this grid iron is the importance of giving back.
“It teach me, like, respect and love for other people,” sixth grader Chris Porter said.
The Cougars are looking for their first win of the season this Saturday and they’ll go into the game with more confidence than ever, thanks to the sharp new uniforms and the kindness shown to them.MORE NEWS: Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont Announces New Program To Support Mental Health For College Students
CBS2’s Jessica Layton contributed to this report.