Bears players wives go shopping for those in need
Updated: February 18, 2013 1:16AM
VERNON HILLS – With a store flatbed chock-full of gifts – everything from children’s books and a Cuddle Creatures turtle to a desktop personal computer – Michi Marshall, wife of Chicago Bears receiver Brandon Marshall, double-checked that she got everything on a needy family’s wish list.
“She went well over budget,” said Lucas Jimenez, the Sam’s Club inventory employee who accompanied Marshall around the store Wednesday morning.
Michi Marshall was part of a group of Chicago Bears wives who helped shop at the Sam’s Club in Vernon Hills for 20 needy families chosen by The Salvation Army. Each of the wives was given an $800 Sam’s Club gift card to shop for a needy family chosen by The Salvation Army.
Marshall wound up pulling out her Visa to cover the additional purchases she wanted.
“My husband and I say if you have been blessed, you need to be a blessing for someone else,” Marshall said.
She said she bought things the single mom who was on her list can use.
“When you are 6, you give your mom a card with some glitter on it, and she loves it,” Marshall said. “But I wanted to give her some things she needs. I grew up in a single-parent house. If I knew what I know now, I would probably go and get a job at age 6 to help out.”
Asked if she would have any explaining to do at home about the extras she purchased, Marshall smiled.
“My husband will probably ask why I didn’t do more,” Marshall said.
Jimenez said he enjoyed being able to help Marshall find items in the warehouse club, even though he admitted not knowing who her husband is.
“Helping families in the area at this time of year is nice,” Jimenez said. “Helping families in need means a lot.”
This marked the sixth year that Sam’s Club has teamed up with the Salvation Army and Off the Field, an association of professional football players’ wives. Twenty pre-selected families from the Salvation Army Adopt-A-Family program in 11 cities each receive $800 in gifts and $200 in food.
“We’ll all in,” Marjorie Reid, manager of the Vernon Hills Sam’s Club, said of the company’s commitment to the program. “And to have this going on in 11 U.S. cities is great.”
Reid noted that this is the second year the Bears wives’ gift-buying has taken place at the Vernon Hills Sam’s Club. For the first four years, the event was held at the Evanston store. Reid said it was determined that the Vernon Hills store was closer for more of the Bear wives.
While Michi Marshall kept pulling things from her flatbed for volunteers to help her wrap, Danielle Forte, wife of Bears running back Matt Forte, worked with other volunteers to get red reindeer wrapping paper around a Little Tykes kitchen set.
“This is a tremendous time to help. Every kid loves getting presents,” said Danielle Forte, who is pregnant with the couple’s first child, a girl due in March. “... When you have a lot, you need to give back.”
Forte said she got everything on her chosen family’s list and although having to substitute a Google tablet for a Kindle Fire that was on one of her gift recipients’ list, she came in close to the Sam’s Club $800 gift card, only being a little over.
“Last year, I was Michi,” Forte laughed.
Capt. Antonio Romero of The Salvation Army said the event is a great help to the nonprofit agency.
“This gives us the ability to work with more families,” Romero said. “(The gift recipients) might not get everything on their list, but this helps local families.”
Lauren Gould, wife of Bears kicker Robbie Gould, was pleased that she got all her chosen family’s needs and wants for $740.
“They are getting a $60 gift card,” Gould said with pride. “I am a budget shopper.”
Gould, who participated in the gift-buying program for the first time, was thrilled to be able to help a needy family.
“It’s a cool feeling,” Gould said. “But it’s so unfortunate that people are in this situation ... It’s nice to see so many people are willing to get involved and do something good.”