Chargers’ Derwin James provides Thanksgiving meals to Santa Ana families

SANTA ANA — Chargers safety Derwin James wanted to continue Casey Hayward’s tradition of serving Thanksgiving meals to low-income families in Orange County because he remembers the joyous interactions he had at the dinner line.

James hosted his own Thanksgiving event Tuesday at the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Ana and distributed more than 175 meals to families who are struggling this holiday season because of high inflation prices.

“Casey started it my rookie year and that’s how I got involved with it and I was a guy who always believed in Boys and Girls Club,” James said. “I attended a Boys and Girls Club. I wanted to connect and help families as much as I can.”

James said NFL players never visited the Boys and Girls Club he attended in Florida, and he noticed how impactful his presence was to the families he served during Hayward’s holiday events. Hayward joined the Las Vegas Raiders in the offseason after playing five seasons with the Chargers.

“These families, they’re going to remember this forever,” James said. “I feel like taking 30 minutes or an hour out of your day could change somebody’s life.

“Sometimes (NFL players) feel like they’re too busy to get out on our off day or don’t have time. You’re never too big or too busy. Get out and help people and show people you really care. That’s what I feel like we need to do as…

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