Scoring a touchdown with the kids at Father Joe's - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Scoring a touchdown with the kids at Father Joe's

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — It was a touchdown at Father Joe's Villages on Wednesday as former San Diego Charger Shawne Merriman made a special visit to the shelter Downtown. 

The event was the first of its kind at Father Joe's as Merriman spent some time with the kids and families who live there.  

From sweet treats to tossing the ball around, it was all about putting a smile on the faces of the kids. 

It's was an unlikely pairing as little Fabian Medina helped former NFL linebacker Merriman set up some cones.  

"I'm trying to set up the drills over here," said Merriman laughing. "I'm trying to get them to go pro next year."  

The two met at Father Joe's Villages where Fabian has lived with his mom for a year - and she said times have been tough.   

"This is our first holiday not really having anything," she said. "My baby is due next month and I don't know where we are going to go if I move out of here." 

Merriman made the special visit to the Downtown shelter for the event he called "Lights Out on the Lawn" - which is a nod to his pro nickname and the name of his clothing line.  

"I'm having fun. I'm signing some jerseys and throwing a football around, but they'll never forget it and that's what's most important to me," said Merriman.  

Father Joe's houses between 150 and 200 children and their families throughout the year. 

The holidays can be especially hard for them. 

"We try to make it normal for them, but it is difficult because at the end of the day they are homeless," said Father Joe's Deacon Jim Vargas.  

For Merriman, it's an issue that hits a personal note as he faced homelessness himself several times as a child.   

"We were forced to move into a shelter," he said. "[But] you can have brighter days [and] you can make it out of your situation."  

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