NORTH PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- On a December night in North Philadelphia a large semi-truck rolled down a narrow street as part of a major surprise.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery was leading the holiday caravan. He went on a Christmas shopping spree and was ready to deliver joy to dozens of Philadelphia families.
He received a roaring welcome as he entered the Beckett Life Center, where parents and children were gathered for their annual holiday party.
Box after box were unloaded, filled with toys already sorted for the boys and girls who call this neighborhood home.
"I think the kids are the future. Not everyone is blessed to have the Christmas that they want. It is also good to give them something so they can have something, have a little hope," Jeffery said.
The one-time Pro Bowler grew up in a very small town in South Carolina and comes from humble beginnings.
"My mom did her best to give me what she could afford. Like the parents here, they did their best to make their ends meet for their kids," Jeffery said.
The children are in awe of the kindness, and loving their new toys.
Six-year-old Hasiyah German captured just how much her Christmas gift means to her.
"I have a princess that's named Tiana I get to do her hair," Hasiyah said. "It makes me feel happy because this is the first time that I got a princess like this."
Carol Smith, the executive director of the Beckett Life Center, tells us, "It's above and beyond anything we could've asked for!"
The center services more than 100 families living in nearby affordable housing. Each Christmas the center receives toys from Toys for Tots, but this year they didn't get anything and Smith didn't know what they were going to do.
Out of the blue she got a call about Alshon Jeffery hoping to partner with the center - even though he had no idea how critical his help would be.
"It's so important for the children to see him in real life and to know that regardless of what happens in our times, we have people who will reach out and make things happen for us," Smith said.
"I'm just doing my part giving back, trying to bless someone else's kid. One day they can remember this for the rest of their life," Jeffery said.
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