While you were likely sleeping at 3 a.m. on Wednesday morning, Coastal Carolina alumnus Josh Norman was in a Walmart in San Antonio, Texas, on a shopping spree.
But he wasn’t shopping for himself.
Norman, a Washington Redskins cornerback, and New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis, formerly of the New York Jets, purchased much of the kids section at a Walmart and delivered the toys and other items as backpack care packages to migrant children recently released from detention centers.
Norman and Davis volunteered to make the donations for the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services RAICES, the largest immigration legal services non-profit in Texas focusing on underserved immigrant children, families and refugees.
RAICES Texas workers assist dozens of children per day who are bussed from detention centers to temporary shelters, RAICES communications director Jennifer Falcon told USA Today for an article.
Norman said he was first compelled to do something around 2 a.m. on June 20 after hearing of immigrant children being separated from their parents at the border, and he contacted Lauren Phillips, who helps him coordinate charitable work, to line up a plan of action.
Norman, a native of Greenwood, said on his Instagram account Thursday: “I saw what was going on with these families on the news just like everyone else & instead of thinking about it, & making comments, God moved me so much in a way at 2 a.m I decided to take action! There wasn’t a lot I could do about what they had been through & their current situation. But I knew I could at least bring a smile to their faces even if it was just for a brief moment in time. Yesterday I saw first-hand the struggles these kids & their families endure and inhuman treatment.”
Norman and Davis are both members of the NFL Players Coalition, which supports social justice causes.
According to the USA Today article, the two filled several shopping carts over four hours with toiletries, snacks, water, juice, blankets, coloring books, markers pencils, crayons, toys and soccer balls and filled backpacks, then met RAICES staffers at bus stops where the children arrived.
USA Today said Norman and Davis took roughly 30 children and their mothers across the street to a restaurant, but left them to their lunches when they learned another busload would arrive later that afternoon. They returned to Walmart for another round of shopping and backpack packing and ordered 20 boxes of pizza for the late arrivals.
“I employ all of you who see something to take action where and when it counts,” Norman said on Twitter. In addition to finishing as a runner-up on Dancing With the Stars, Norman also recently was awarded an honorary doctorate degree by CCU.