From left, Ben Obamanu, Willie Coleman III, District Attorney Michael Jackson, Thomasine Johnson, Michael Johnson, Sam Johnson and Freddie Russell all came together to bag groceries for tips to benefit the MJ93 Foundation. Money from the event will be used to send area children. -- Rick Couch

Raising money a bag at a time

Published 12:31am Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dallas County native Michael Johnson spends most of the year sacking quarterbacks. But Saturday the Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive end spent most of the day sacking groceries for tips at Calhoun Foods to raise money for his annual football camp through the MJ93 Foundation.

Johnson was joined by local celebrities, his parents and fellow Dallas County native and NFL colleague, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Ben Obamanu and a number of well-wishers.

The positive response, Johnson said, always makes him proud to come home. Johnson said he does not plan to slow down when it comes to helping the youth of Dallas County.

“This is fun for me. It just feels natural,” he said. “I’m glad I have the opportunity to do something to make a difference because when I’m done playing ball I’m going to be right back here. This is home.”

Using your natural talents to succeed is easy, Johnson said. The true test is how people use success to help others.

“It’s not hard to make it if you are focused and work hard and that’s what I try to relay to these kids,” he said. “But you have to use it to benefit the community. You have to give something back or it’s wasted.”

Calhoun Foods director Jimmie Coleman III said Johnson is always quick to partner with the store to help the children of Dallas County.

“Mike has been like a brother to us,” he said. “It’s very rewarding to be able to do things like this and have these athletes help out. It’s a rare opportunity for the people here and its something we all appreciate.”

As a celebrity bagger, Obamanu played injured. Obamanu, who recently had surgery to repair his right shoulder, said he still wouldn’t have missed this event for anything.

“I’m glad to help out,” Obamanu said. “These people have always supported us and it’s great for us to come out and support them. It’s always good to come home and show everyone how much you appreciate them being behind you.”

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