NFL wives provide holiday cheer with 'Off the Field' organization

IRVING -- Ilyne Nash had trouble locating a car seat, while Kristin Smith Sensabaugh searched for toys that were in high demand.

Nash, the girlfriend of Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, and Sensabaugh, wife of safety Gerald Sensabaugh, were two of the many NFL wives and significant others on hand recently at an area Sam's Club fulfilling holiday wish lists for the less fortunate.

"Surprise, surprise... all the toys are gone," Sensabaugh said, smiling. "This is important to do in our position because we're fortunate to have the things we have and fortunate to be in a position where we can come do something like this and make an impact."

Asked how she felt the families would react to the gifts, Sensabaugh said: "I'm sure they're just like my three sons -- excited. That's another thing I do this for, is to teach my sons there is more to life than just gifts under a Christmas tree."

It's the sixth consecutive year that Sam's Club has teamed up with Off the Field, a nonprofit organization comprised of wives of active and retired professional football players. The wives in Dallas/Fort Worth shopped for 20 families, and there were 10 other cities nationwide that participated in the event.

In all, 220 families, which were selected by the Salvation Army, will receive gifts totaling $220,000. That includes a $200 Sam's Club gift card for food.

"We're all living an incredibly blessed life and a lot of people on these lists are probably football fans, so it's a good way for us to demonstrate for those who have a lot that there are also a lot of people who need," said Janet Dorsett, wife of Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett. "It's not really that much to give back."

Nash got involved in the event through Brooke Sims, wife of Cowboys linebacker Ernie Sims.

"It's very important to support the community and it's nice to see all of them taking time out to do this," Nash said.

For Sims, it's her fourth year being involved in the event. She did it in Detroit and Philadelphia, two of her husband's previous stops before he signed with the Cowboys in late October.

"Most people start their Christmas shopping on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but this kind of starts my holiday shopping," Sims said.

"It feels so good to know a family is going to get everything they need and want for Christmas. It's just a blessing to be a part of it."

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @drewdavison

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram