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Professional athlete Roquan Smith provides gifts, food and more to Macon County, where he grew up

It’s the season of giving and one central Georgia professional athlete is taking that sentiment literally as he gives back to the community that raised him.

MACON COUNTY, Ga. — Born and raised here in Macon County, Roquan Smith provides free access to his very own football camp for children in the area, teaching them the skills he learned to become a Butkus award winner at UGA. 

Smith also provides Thanksgiving meals and turkeys to families who normally would go without. 

Most recently he helped launch a Mask Up Macon County campaign, donating hundreds of masks and face coverings to battle COVID-19 exposure.

This month, the Chicago Bears linebacker is sponsoring a drive-thru gift giveaway to benefit children in Macon County.

“I just wanted to bring Christmas joy to a few kids down in my hometown of Macon county” Smith said. “I know times have been tough and I'm extremely grateful to be in this position. I wanted to show the kids in Macon County that they are loved and cared about.”

100 children in need made up Christmas wish list's, not exceeding $250 each. The Boys and Girls club shopped for the items and while following social distancing protocol, parents picked up the gifts without contact.

“To have a committed partner like Roquan Smith and for him to come back and make this happen is just a dream come true for us. It really is a testament to who he is as a person and his passion for his community, and more importantly his passion for young people” Boys and Girls Club Coordinator Marvin Laster said.

Toys like remote control cars, dolls and gift cards were handed out to boys and girls just in time for the holidays. Smith's aunt Shaquwanda Baker says this was indeed a group effort to help those who couldn’t afford gifts under the tree to celebrate Christmas.

“Roquan of course grew up in Macon County. He always loved to say how it takes a village for him and his brothers and other members of the community” she said. “He wants to continue to be a part of the village, despite not living here anymore. He knows home is where the heart is, and charity is at home and he doesn’t ever want to lose that focus.”

“Just doing what I can and doing my part and want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas," Smith said.