Defensive Ends Make Big Plays and Help Grant Little Wishes
10 Jan 2015
It is a few days before Christmas. Someone tells you that you have $200 to spend at Walmart on anything you choose. What would you do?

St. Louis Rams defensive ends William Hayes, Chris Long and Robert Quinn gave 45 kids that experience. For the second year in a row, the three players teamed up with Big Brothers Big Sisters to host Big Plays Little Wishes.

“This event gives Big Brothers Big Sisters an opportunity to give back to our families and give our Littles new experiences,” said Ruby Jones, senior director/relationship support at Big Brothers Big Sisters - Eastern Missouri. “This particular experience gives them the ability to come and just shop, without worrying about budgets or anything.”

Before the shopping began, each child and their Big, or mentor, had a great dinner at Twin Oak Wood Fired Fare. Each Little Brother and Sister, as the kids are called, received a t-shirt and had the chance to talk with the players. Of course none of the defensive ends got away from any child without signing an autograph.

“My favorite part is seeing the kids be happy for about two or three hours,” said Long. “It’s just the coolest thing to them; they get to enjoy some things that they may not otherwise get to enjoy.”

Once everyone had finished their meal, they all traveled across the street to Walmart to get the shopping started.

Many of the “Littles” began shopping with their “Bigs” in the toy section, but soon each basket headed out to other areas in the store. With unselfish hearts this holiday season, many kids did not just shop for themselves…they picked up Christmas gifts for friends and family, as well.

“You can see how these kids genuinely love their family,” explained Hayes. “Some kids don’t even buy themselves anything. It’s like, ‘I want to just get everyone in my family something for once.’ That just makes me feel good, too.”

Hayes, Long and Quinn had a good time helping the kids find what they wanted in the store, but they especially enjoyed being able to be a kid just like them.

“This event makes me become a big kid again,” said Quinn. “Especially with guys like Will and Chris, two of the biggest jokesters on the team - pairing up with these guys for this event, there’s no better feeling.”

After they paid for their items that night and said their farewells to the players, each kid received a gift bag and goodies provided by Walmart.

“The event was exciting,” said Melissa Evans, Big Sister. “My Little got to do what she wanted and it was all about her. There was no saying no.”
“This event means everything to the Littles,” said Jones. “The kids can purchase gifts for themselves, all of those things that they really wanted, as well as some things they needed, and really feel good about themselves for the holidays.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters - Eastern Missouri offers a chance to have a friendship with an older individual to kids in the area who may face adversity, or who may just need that male or female figure in their life. Bigs are matched with Littles to encourage, support and create a long lasting relationship. For more information on the program, or how you or your child may get involved, visit

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