Warming bodies, hearts in Steel City

by Hugo Bravo

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Penguins took time in October to be shopping assistants for project Bundle–Up, a joint event between The Salvation Army Western Pennsylvania Division and WTAE–TV Channel 4.

The purpose of project Bundle–Up is to provide new winter clothing such as hats, gloves, jackets, and boots for children and seniors from low–income locations throughout western Pennsylvania. Since its inception in 1986, WTAE–TV’s project Bundle–Up has raised $16.5 million and provided more than 300,000 children and seniors with new outfits for the cold weather.

On Oct. 17, players from the Steelers football team hosted children from The Salvation Army in Homewood, Pa., at Dick’s Sporting Goods at The Waterfront shopping center.

“It feels awesome to be able to come out with the kids and get what they need to stay warm this winter,” said Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth. “To see the smiles on their faces means a lot to me and my teammates. Being able to give back to the community is part of our role as athletes in this community.”

“Project Bundle–Up does such a great job working with The Salvation Army,” said Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky.

Two days later, project Bundle–Up welcomed hockey players from the Pittsburgh Penguins and children from The Salvation Army in Mars, Pa., to a second Dick’s Sporting Goods location in North Pittsburgh.

“It’s something that I always look forward to,” said Bryan Rust, who plays right wing for the Penguins. “The two girls I met today got some pretty sweet outfits. They’re going to be the best dressed! I hope it’s something they’ll always remember.”

“It’s fun to see the joy in a child’s face when they pick out their own things. You get to know them and each of their personalities,” said goaltender Tristan Jarry.

On both shopping days, the men in the black–and–gold uniforms of the Pittsburgh teams worked alongside men and women wearing The Salvation Army’s red shield to assure that every child in attendance would go home with a new winter outfit.

“One of the greatest joys in all of life is seeing delight in the eyes of a child, and what happens each year at project Bundle–Up locations is a wonder to behold,” said Major Joyce Hartshorn, divisional director of women’s ministries at The Salvation Army Western Pennsylvania Division. “While the goal of the trip is keeping bodies warm against the harsh elements of winter, the greater good that results is warming the hearts of children in preparation for navigating the harsh realities of life. On that day, everyone wins.”

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