The Patriots may not have been physically out in the community this year, but that didn't stop them from finding new ways to help out local families and organizations. Patriots players, coaches and the Patriots Foundation went above and beyond this holiday season, and with multiple events, it's a lot to keep track of.
However, Patriots.com has you covered. Check out all the ways that the Patriots gave back this month.
DECEMBER TO REMEMBER
Brandon Copeland leverages his network of former teammates to deliver surprises to families across the country. Every year through his Beyond the Basics Foundation, Copeland recruits his former teammates to host shopping sprees in their current NFL cities.
Copeland and 21 players around the league, including Devin McCourty, Jason McCourty and Deatrich Wise Jr., surprised more than 200 families with $800 Amazon gift cards in 18 different states. Copeland, Wise and the McCourtys gave 40 families in Boston a chance to get everything they want and need for the holidays.
"For us, another huge thing we try to emphasize is collaboration. Through collaboration, we can do more. Because a lot of people we're helping come from communities we don't trust a lot," Copeland said on the "Do Your Part Podcast" earlier this month. "For us, it's trying to break down some of those barriers so people realize hey if I reach outside of my comfort zone, I can do more and help people together. Using ourselves as examples."
December to Remember is one of Beyond the Basics signature events, and though it is Copeland's first year playing for the Patriots, it's not the first time the event was hosted here. The McCourtys and Kyle Van Noy hosted a shopping spree last December as part of the event.
EMPOWER COATS DONATION
As the winter rolls in throughout New England, those without homes are literally out in the cold. The Patriots Foundation and players have long support Empowerment Plan and their revolutionary coats, which can be converted into sleeping bags and over-the-shoulder bags.
Matthew and Shahrzad Slater, Lawrence and Andrea Guy, Rex and Danielle Burkhead and Ivan and Beverly Fears came together to buy 50 EMPWR coats to donate to LYNN Ministries, a Christian street ministry that works with folks in need in Brockton, Tauton and Attleboro. Patrick Chung also donated 30 coats to Boston Healthcare for the Homeless.
While the coats on their own are impactful, even more so is the business model of Empowerment Plan. The founder, Veronika Scott, is committed to hiring parents from shelters throughout Detroit to end the cycle of homelessness and poverty. Through full-time employment, services and training, Empowerment Plan serves as "a stepping stone out of poverty into a state of stability," according to its website.
24 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
The reigning defensive player on the year played Instagram Santa Claus all of December. For 24 days, Stephon Gilmore is doing it all. He paid a month's worth of utilities for a local family, bought diapers, wipes and more for a new mom, given away grocery store gift cards and a brand-new TV, surprised a kindergarten class with a pizza party and donated socks and hygiene kits to Boston Healthcare for the Homeless.
Just to name a few.
CHILDREN'S HOLIDAY PARTY & TREE GIVEAWAY
The Patriots Foundation typically hosts an annual holiday party for local groups of kids, but despite the pandemic, they still pulled off holiday cheer -- albeit, virtually.
Josh Kraft, Andre Tippett, David Andrews, Adam Butler, Devin McCourty, J.J. Taylor and Patriots cheerleaders hopped on video calls with more than 200 children across New England. They read to the kids, and Santa even made an appearance. Every child received a teddy bear and a holiday gift bag from the Patriots.
On top of that, the Patriots Foundation teamed up with Wonderfund of Massachusetts to donate Christmas trees to foster kids and their families. Families were able to "drive through" Gillette Stadium and Patriot Place to pick up trees, ornaments, lights, as well as gifts, teddy bears, winter hats and gingerbread house kits to take home.
GIFTS FROM THE GRIDIRON
The longstanding Patriots Foundation event wasn't the exciting shopping spree at Bass Pro Shop it typically is. Of course, in 2020, every event looks different. While the structure was different, the impact was the same.
Patriots players surprised 55 children at local homeless shelters throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island with gift cards to Bass Pro Shop to do holiday shopping fro themselves and their families.
Patriots players, coaches and their families chipped in to buy the gift cards, including Stephon Gilmore, Lawrence Guy, David Andrews, Rex Burkhead, Jonathan Jones, Damiere Byrd, Terrence Brooks, Myles Bryant, Brian Hoyer, Cody Davis, Jakob Johnson, Michael Onwenu and more.
On Dec. 15, Jones, Guy, Davis and Bryant surprised two of the groups with a Q&A sessions over video chat. Each group was also received donations from the Patriots Foundation Toy Drive with WBZ.
The Patriots Foundation isn't alone in hosting a Toy Drive. Dont'a Hightower, J.C. Jackson, Patrick Chung and the Bill Belichick Foundation all made donations of toys and books to kids in need.
Hightower donated $10,000 and 3,600 books to Book'em Nashville, which helps create a love of reading for kids throughout the region. On Twitter, Hightower said he did it in honor of his Patriots teammates.
Cam Newton continued his annual tradition by surprising local kids at a Roxbury Boys and Girls Club, according to the Boston Globe. He gave away gifts and answered questions in a socially distanced setup.
In Naples, Fla., J.C. Jackson hosted "Jingle Jam" on Dec. 19. He and his family donated toys, masks, hand sanitizer and more to local families. Earlier this month, Chung donated hundreds of toys to kids in Brockton to bring some holiday cheer.
Finally, the Bill Belichick Foundation teamed up with Donate a Toy and Toys for Tots to collect and distribute more than 20,000 for local families. These toys will be delivered to local non-profits for the holidays.