CHULA VISTA (CBS 8) - The Chula Vista Police Department is making sure thousands of people have a meal this holiday season. 

The CVPD have joined forces with the San Diego Chargers and Athletes For Education - a group dedicated to giving back to the community.  

Thousands of people lined up outside Walmart in Chula Vista where shopping carts were filled as police officers provided meals to the same citizens they vow to protect. 

The group Athletes For Education entices big names to give back to their communities.   

MMA fighter Phil Davis, known as "Mr. Wonderful" in the cage, says this is a different kind of wonderful.  

"[It's] good for the soul I've heard," said Davis. "Smiling and laughing. So that's just what I do. Beating people up is my job and this is my fun time."  

Chargers players were also on hand to help the police hand out meals early Tuesday morning. Players said it was great to get off the field and get into the community. 

This tradition started years ago with LaDanian Tomlinson and the team has set a goal to serve 2,100 meals in honor of Tomlinson's number: 21 

Today they served 1,000 meals; enough food to serve 3,500 people 

"You get a chance to hang out with some people," said Chargers nose tackle Sean Lissemore. "UFC fighters [and] NFL players hanging out with police [and] fire department. We really enjoy it a lot."  

The project is made possible by the Chula Vista Police Foundation.