Eastern Illinois quarterback makes one-of-a-kind 'handoff'

Posted:
Scotty Gilkey, Jr., 20, helps unload the gifts he purchased and helped collect from the Eastern Illinois community to help the kids of One Hope United. Scotty Gilkey, Jr., 20, helps unload the gifts he purchased and helped collect from the Eastern Illinois community to help the kids of One Hope United.

CHARLESTON -- The day started with a mysterious phone call.

The staff of the children 's social services organization One Hope United were about to receive a truckload of toys -- turns out literally, a car full.

Games. Dolls. Toys. Sports equipment. Even an entire shipping box of fidget spinners.

They weren't from a national charity, a toy company or even a local service group. Student-athlete Scotty Gilkey, Jr. just knew something needed to be done. His prompting came at the Charleston Rural King's "Angel Tree" when he saw that kids from the surrounding area were asking for basic necessities like underwear and socks.

"It kind of hurt our hearts a little bit," he said.

First, the 20-year-old academic sophomore from Tulsa, Oklahoma purchased around $100 in toys out of his own pocket. Then he knew he needed to challenge others to do the same. Lo and behold, they did. Gilkey's tweet circulated through Eastern Illinois circles and inspired gifts from several players, professors and athletic director Tom Michael. The pile of toys eventually grew so big that it couldn't fit inside Gilkey's SUV for transport without spilling out into the street once the trunk was popped.

Despite the unusual circumstances of Gilkey's "handoff" -- his age, student status and busy schedule as a young father -- he chose to ignore the reasons not to and instead went for maximum impact of what he could do. It comes as no surprise to those who know Gilkey, as he has a noticeably charitable demeanor on the sideline, pumping up teammates and generally keeping the team loose.

"It's kind of how I was raised," he said. "I'm from Oklahoma and my family, we're all about giving. If somebody needs help, we help them."

The staff members of One Hope United are requesting volunteers to help process all of the toys the organization has received in the past few weeks. To donate an hour or a day, please contact the Charleston office's website.

Current Conditions
/