Victor Cruz, of Giants and Super Bowl fame, is an unrepentant Mama’s Boy. His close relationships with his mother and Abuela, and his general likeability, led Campbell’s Chunky soup to hire him as the face of their Mama’s boy campaign. This week Cruz brought Campbell to his hometown, Paterson, New Jersey, bringing with them a hefty donation to those in need.
This isn’t the first time Cruz has given back to the community that nurtured him. He’s actually been involved with Eva’s Village since his former high school principal became the director there. Eva’s Kitchen began thirty years ago as a soup kitchen in the basement of a local church. Named after a nun who worked there, it has evolved into a multi-service social service agency that now offers emergency, transitional, and permanent housing, residences for mothers and children, medical and dental care, job readiness programs, and substance abuse treatment. The kitchen became a village because people who cared about the community put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into it.
Cruz appears comfortable with the media circus that follows him, posing for pictures and signing autographs for Eva’s lunch guests. He along with members of the Giants rookie class, rolled up their sleeves to serve lunch and speak with lunch guests. This is an activity that every year’s rookie class participates in, although it was the first time with the media watching.
When asked about his college years and how they helped him mature, Cruz said that it was the first time he was totally on his own with no one to do things for him. He learned to be self-sufficient and developed time-management skills.
While he hasn’t given a lot of thought to his post-football years, after all he’s still new in NFL years, Cruz expressed an interest in continuing his philanthropic activities. He also expressed an interest in working with kids, possibly as a teacher. However with the way that NFL fans have embraced him, a career as a commentator is probably not out of the question.
Cruz tells all the Being Latino readers, who asked if he would come to play with their favorite teams, sorry, but he’s happy where he is. As a Jersey girl, that makes me very happy.
Big Blue’s salsa dancing machine is a proud Afro-Latino and takes his role model label seriously. When asked if he would consider adding a Bachata step to his end zone ritual, he laughed and said that his grandmother would roll over in her grave. So, I guess that’s a “No”. Taking into consideration that his salsa step is a tribute to his Abuela, we are alright with his answer.
Asking him about his favorite meal received an immediate response. Cruz is a fan of arroz con gandules, maduros and bistec en salsa, although he will trade the steak for a pavochon on Thanksgiving Day.
Victor Cruz impresses anyone who meets him with his humility, earnestness, and sense of humor. He looks you right in the eye even when there are several cameras flashing near him. His commitment to community is evident in the work he does with his time off the field. A young man, a young father, a great football player. We’ll be watching him for years to come.