The Green Bay Packers took part in the sixth annual "Hometown Huddle," an NFL-wide day of community service by setting up a designated Big Brothers Big Sisters seating area and bowling with the mentors and children on Tuesday.
Packers' players Vonta Leach, Aaron Rodgers, Nick Collins, Zac Woodfin, Corey Williams and Patrick Dendy participated along with more than 50 people from Big Brothers Big Sisters.
"I like doing these events. I love kids," said Rodgers, who hopes to set up a foundation one day and still hangs out with his personal cyclist from training camp. "There are a lot of kids out there who don't have a good father figure. If I can make an impact on just one kid with the way I play and what I do off the field, to me that's success."
The players began by arranging furniture in the Kohl's wing of Bay Park Square Mall in Ashwaubenon, Wis. Players carried a Big Brothers Big Sisters sign and four plush chairs to a high-traffic area of the mall. The two big chairs and two little chairs symbolically represent the charity. Collins vacuumed the carpeted area.
This new area, located at the entrance of the mall, will serve as a great way to market Big Brothers Big Sisters.
"The number of impressions we're going to make in this space is huge," said Will Fleischman, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeastern Wisconsin, Inc. "A presence like this affords us foot traffic. That's critical for any business. This is our Lambeau Field Atrium in so many ways."
After setting up the furniture, the players bowled and signed autographs with Big Brothers Big Sisters kids and mentors at Ashwaubenon Bowling Lanes. For Jessica, 16, meeting Rodgers served as the highlight.
"I melted into a puddle on the floor," she said.
On Tuesday all 32 of the NFL teams participated in community service activities ranging from building homes for low-income families to visiting local military bases. But for Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Packers' visit carried special meaning.
"The Packers have a longtime involvement in the community," Fleischman said. "We want to be affiliated with the Packers because everyone understands the values of the Packers."