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O's Jones enjoys playing Santa to needy families

BALTIMORE -- As Adam Jones wandered the aisles of a local Target, the Orioles' center fielder -- who took two deserving Baltimore City families holiday shopping -- was also taking some mental notes.

"I haven't been around the toy store [section] in a few years," said Jones, who doesn't have any children of his own but has two nephews, ages 2 and 4. "Now, I have a really good idea what to get them."

A few weeks before Uncle Adam will be gifting things to his family in San Diego, Jones took the time on Thursday afternoon to play Santa for Mary Malloy and Nichelle Henson, both single women raising multiple children on their own.

"I think being a focal point in the community, someone who can help out, I care," Jones said. "I actually do care. This is a small token of my appreciation to what this city has blessed me and my family with."

The 27-year-old Jones, who signed an $85.5 million contract extension this season, has never been shy about his desire to get more involved in the city of Baltimore, and Thursday was an example of the more hands-on approach the All-Star and Gold Glover prefers.

The families were selected through OriolesREACH and the club's partnership with Baltimore City Schools, picked up in a limousine and taken to the Target located at 1737 Reisterstown Road in Pikesville, Md. They also received Orioles memorabilia and tickets to a future game.

"It's so easy to write a check," Jones said. "You write a check, you put it to charity, you get a tax break off it and you're done. I'm not getting a tax break for this and I don't care. To me, it's not about that. It's about being able to help and assist, lend a hand to some good families going through some tough times right now.

"There's hundreds of families in Baltimore that I could be doing this with right now, too. Slowly but surely, I'm going to try to make my way around the city. This city has blessed me, this ownership has blessed me and I want to give back."

Malloy is a single retired woman raising three children of a family member: Maurice (8), Jean (16) and Donna (18). Henson is a single mother of four Callaway students: Khalil Harris (Fifth grade), Perriyon and Kuadifi Harris (Second) and Jeremiah Harris (pre-K).

"I know what's going on in the city, especially because I've been here, and the economy," Jones said. "I don't think it's my duty to do it, but I think it's my responsibility to help out families in the city. It's not just about the money, it's about getting them out of whatever lives they are living and hanging out and chilling. And hooking them up with some stuff they really need. I told them, 'Go [crazy].'"

Baltimore Orioles, Adam Jones