WWE Superstars collect toys in New York City
NEW YORK -- Hundreds of our fans clutched toys and lined the chilly blocks of Rockefeller Center for a chance to meet Raw's Jeff Hardy and Lilian Garcia at the Tribute to the Troops toy drive on Tuesday.
"It's always busy when we're in New York, and once again, here's another example of that. … There are just some good people, man. The Christmas spirit is in effect, and I really felt that here today," Jeff told WWE.com.
"Today has been really great. Just to see so many kids come out, people come out, fans come out to hand over the gifts," Lilian said. "What's really neat to see is a kid who probably wants to keep that gift, but instead puts it in a basket and feels good about that. It's really just a beautiful thing. It just really shows about giving back."
In exchange for a toy donation to the United States Marine Corps Toys for Tots Foundation, our fans had the opportunity to pose for photos and receive autographs from the Intercontinental Champion and the Raw ring announcer.
"There were a lot of good people who showed up today. I signed a lot of autographs and I made a lot of new friends. It's a good deal," Jeff said. (WATCH)
Our fans traveled from near and far to the NBC Experience Store in Rockefeller Center. WWE.com saw many of our fans from the tri-state area, but also met our fans from as far away as Great Britain and Australia.
Twelve-year-old twins Francesa and Dhanya, and their brother, Jamie, 9, of London, are huge WWE fans and couldn't miss a chance to meet Jeff and Lilian while on vacation in New York City. When WWE.com asked the siblings if they'll be tuning in to Tribute to the Troops this Christmas Eve, they responded with a resounding and excited "yes."
Youngsters Cameron and Andrew Nairn of Queensland, Australia, were also vacationing in the United States and jumped at the chance to donate toys to meet Lilian and deliver a special message for Jeff: "Come wrestle in Australia!"
Richard, 12, of New York, was one of the first children in line to meet the Raw Superstars at the NBC Experience Store, and had stars in his eyes at the sight of the Intercontinental Champion.
"He's a tremendous fan of all the wrestlers, especially Jeff Hardy," said Richard's mother, Lexi Switzer, who was joined by her husband, Dennis. "My husband is active military, as well. So I want to thank WWE very much for what they do for our military."
Tuesday's toy drive was held by WWE and USA Network in conjunction with the Marines. WWE hopes its efforts, as well as those of its Superstars and Divas, will encourage others to seek similar opportunities to support their local communities during this holiday season.
"This holiday season, I think all the fans should just remember that family and friends are No. 1. Nothing else matters in this world, seriously," Lilian told WWE.com.
"When you look at it in the big scope of things, just put all your sadness behind. Any troubles that you have, toss them all to the side and just enjoy the holiday season and remember that this is what counts, and this is what it's all about," she said.
"From me, from the bottom of my heart, I'd like to thank each and every one of our fans," said Jeff. "As far as that goes, I'd like to thank even people who aren't my fans. Whoever comes to WWE events, I'd like to thank each and every one of them and wish them all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year."
Tune in to WWE's 5th Annual Tribute to the Troops on USA Network, Christmas Eve, at 9/8 CT.