The first thing Najee Harris wanted to replace was the carpet.
It was once blue-green. But the short-looped industrial weave that covered the floors at the Greater Richmond (California) Interfaith Program (GRIP) had faded into a stained amalgamation from shoe prints of more than 20 years, traces of countless families looking for a fresh start.
The shoes of Harris, his mom and his four older siblings walked over that carpet when they arrived at the Richmond shelter more than a decade ago. This was the last of several shelters the Pittsburgh Steelers rookie running back and his family stayed in during his childhood, a time when they faced multiple evictions and a stint living in a van at Golden Gate Park.
When he went back to the shelter for a visit between helping Alabama win the national championship in January and becoming the No. 24 overall pick of the NFL draft in April, Harris noticed the carpet. He made a mental note to change it when he got the chance.
Source: How Steelers’ Najee Harris, family are helping out homeless shelter where they once lived