The Raiders held the first of two Toys for Tots events at The Raider Image at Southland Mall in Hayward. RB Darren McFadden, WR Rod Streater, CB Taiwan Jones and LS Jon Condo helped the U.S. Marines collect toys to be distributed to youth in Alameda County.
The annual event is fun for the players because they get a chance to give back to the community during the holiday season, while also interacting with Raider Nation. "It went great just to be out here interacting with the fans, signing things and just to know kids back in Alameda will get a toy," said Streater. "It went really well. Just to see the smiles on the kids' faces and fans, it was amazing."
The fans filled boxes with toys, giving back to their local community and getting the opportunity to meet some of their favorite players. "It's great. The line got really full," said Staff Sergeant Armando Morales. "We're getting a lot of toys and a lot of monetary donations as well. The Marines are pretty excited. I saw some of our sailors here as well helping us out with the volunteer work and it's great."
McFadden has participated in Toys for Tots several times and always enjoys meeting the fans. "My main thing is just being able to be out here with the fans in the holiday season," said McFadden. "You want to be able to come out and they always see you on TV, they want to be able to touch you and talk to you so that's one of the main things. It's just a great feeling for everybody."
RB Darren McFadden, WR Rod Streater, CB Taiwan Jones and LS Jon Condo joined the U.S. Marines to help collect toys and donations at The Raider Image at Southland Mall.
Jones is also a Toys for Tots regular. Despite missing the season due to injury, Jones has continued to be active in the community. "It means a lot just seeing a lot of these kids faces, and even these adults, they drove so far just to meet us and interact with us," said Jones. "For me to be able to put a smile on their faces during the holidays, it brings me joy."
The four Raiders wanted to make sure to take some time to give back to the community that has given so much to them. "It means a lot because you know there are a lot of less fortunate people out there. You want the holiday season to be a fun time," said Condo. "And to give back and just donate our time for the people who are coming and donating the toys and the cash donations, it's the least we could do for the community and the people of the area."
Always having the support of Raider Nation means a great deal to the players. "Raider Nation is everywhere and to see them come out today to just hang out with us, it means a lot. It means the world," said Streater.
"It's unbelievable," added Condo. "You see babies dressed up head to toe with the Raider Nation gear on and you see older people just as fanatical as the little kids, teenagers coming out and getting autographs. Being a role model in the community, it just feels good to give back and to see the smiles on their faces and to make someone's day. It feels great."
The players also appreciate the opportunity to work with the Marines. "It's an honor. They do so much for our country, so just being able to be out here beside those guys is an honor," said McFadden.
Partnering with the Marines adds a little extra to the event for the players. "All the services they provide for us, just to see them during the holidays giving back, it's very motivational and inspirational," said Streater.
The Marines appreciate the support from the Raiders. "It's great to see big stars like that, big athletes like that, giving some of their time as well to support the Toys for Tots campaign," said SSgt. Morales.
The Raiders will be collecting toys and donations before and during Sunday's match-up with the Buffalo Bills at O.co Coliseum. Players will also be signing autographs in exchange for unused, unwrapped toys or donations at The Raider Image at Southland Mall on Monday, December 22 from 6-8:00 p.m.