It’s the holiday season in Kansas City, ushering in a time of giving and family, but also an inconvenient reality:
It’s cold outside.
The chilly weather often serves as an advantage for the Kansas City Chiefs on the field, but it makes life difficult for those without the means to keep themselves warm in the midst of a Midwestern winter.
Chiefs’ cornerback Marcus Peters and wide receiver Chris Conley decided to do something about that this December, as each hosted a coat drive aimed at helping those in need.
Peters’ event was at the Gregg/Klice Community Center on Saturday afternoon, while Conley’s “Coats for the Kingdom” distribution was back on Dec. 11.
It was Peters’ second time visiting the Gregg/Klice Community Center in as many months, as the third-year corner also hosted a turkey distribution prior to Thanksgiving. His efforts on Saturday provided over 300 people with coats that may not have had one otherwise.
“This is big time for our community,” said Donald Strother, the Gregg/Klice Community Center Director. “Marcus has been right in the middle of everything each time he’s been here. I know the people in this community love it, and he has an open invitation to come back any time he wants. He’s been great.”
The coats were courtesy of Adidas, one of Peters’ sponsors.
“Marcus is a very community-driven individual,” said Nick Ayre, an NFL Sports Marketing Coordinator at Adidas. “He just came to me and said, ‘Hey Nick, I want to get like 300 jackets.’ We got them over here in time and were able to host this great event.”
Peters delivered, unloaded and distributed the coats himself, but he had some help, too, as actor and Kansas City native Paul Rudd stopped by with his son to assist with the distribution.
“It all came together pretty quickly. I just thought it would be great to bring my son out here and we could pass out some coats,” Rudd said. “It’s freezing outside and nobody should go cold. It’s an amazing thing that he’s doing.”
Rudd’s appearance brought together two of Kansas City’s most prominent faces with the common goal of helping those in need.
“We’re really lucky to be able to do stuff like this,” Rudd said. “Regardless of where you are in life, it’s just nice to do something for people that makes things better for them.”
Conley’s event aimed to accomplish a similar goal in partnership with the Community Services League, which serves as one of the largest providers of immediate relief to those in need in the Kansas City area.
“Chris was trying to address the very basic need of keeping folks warm this winter,” said Doug Cowan, President and CEO of CSL. “What we’re dealing with are people that don’t have the means to go out and buy coats for their family. By stepping in and providing things like coats, we’re making sure that their resources are spent on other important things, like putting food on the table.”
Conley promoted the campaign through his own efforts on social media, ultimately gathering several hundred coats as part of the initiative.
“What Chris is doing is lending a voice to those folks that are really struggling,” Cowan said. “This was his idea – he came up with the name – but he didn’t want it to be about him. He wanted it to be about the coats and helping families.”
Both efforts were just another example of how Kansas City is more than just another town in the NFL – it’s a family.