CLEVELAND — With the holidays fast approaching, one of Northeast Ohio's most popular athletes is once again giving back to the community.
Browns star Myles Garrett is partnering with the United Way of Greater Cleveland to host a "Home for the Holidays" event Tuesday. The All-Pro defensive end was recently appointed as the chapter's official brand ambassador, and he will lead efforts to provide winter clothes and school supplies to local children in need.
"It fills my heart, it fills my soul to be able to give back," Garrett said as the event kicked off. "I didn't have a role model or an idol that was a sports figure that came around town and that visited us. I had the people around me. ... I had that I looked up to around the community and the neighborhood. I want to show that I'm in the community as well. ... I am just as much a part of this neighborhood as anyone else."
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During the gathering at Playhouse Square's US Bank Plaza, Garrett and others will fill bags with things like hats, gloves, notebooks, and pencils that will be given to dozens of kids in attendance. There will also be plenty of arts and crafts stations, and the event will conclude with families getting to meet Garrett up close and personal during a special reception.
"I hope to put this on more often, for years to come," Garrett told those in attendance. "As long as I'm here and just be a blessing to you all, like [my grandmother] was to me."
Since being drafted by the Browns in 2017, Garrett has become almost as known for his off-field work as for his play on Sundays: He was the team's nominee for the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2020, and has also been highlighted for his efforts to bring cleaner water to places in East Africa. Back in September, the United Way even unveiled a mural of Garrett as a young boy along with his grandmother on the side of its Cleveland headquarters.
"Art played a major role in my life, kind of being pushed upon me by my grandmother, my family as an outlet for things that were going on," Garrett said Tuesday. "Once you get used to doing those things, it kind of finds its way into different parts of your life."
Besides Garrett, the United Way's Augie Napoli and William Winans also spoke, and the Lexington-Bell Community Center and YWCA of Greater Cleveland are also serving as partners.