CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The emcee told the crowd to scream so loud that people in Concord would be able to hear them.
While it's unclear if the applause made its way to Cabarrus County, the roar of 1,300 kids Monday night did reverberate throughout the TopGolf driving range.
Carolina Panthers Cam Newton later said that sound is what he misses the most.
"That is what you miss the most, interacting with fans," Newton said. "It has just been a long process, but yet doing things like this can put anybody in a great holiday spirit."
Newton's season-ending injury did not prevent the star quarterback from hosting 1,300 kids for a night out at TopGolf and a Thanksgiving meal. This is the eighth year of the Cam's Thanksgiving Jam. Children also left with a meal for their families.
"I really, really miss you," Newton told the crowd. "Thank you for helping me fix my issue."
When he wasn't dishing out food, Newton could be found laughing with kids and taking selfies.
Newton said the most popular question for him was, "Did you make the food?"
During a news conference after the food was served, Newton told reporters the event helped lift his spirit.
"It has been a trying year for me in multiple ways… but at the end of the day, being in this type of atmosphere helps you and would help anyone," he said. "This is what the holidays are really about, giving back in many more ways than one. Doing things that impact the community is just as important as your performance on the field."
As much as the event helped Newton, it had an even larger effect on the hundreds of kids in attendance.
"This is honestly one of the best days of my life," Harlem Henry said.
"For some people, they don't have enough money to see Cam Newton. They can come here and have fun and eat some food and see Cam Newton, too," Jon'Tavion Carter said.
"I think it is so nice of him to share his love," BeeEra Coufar said.
Asked why Newton started this tradition, the quarterback said he wants to inspire people on and off the football field.
"Looking forward to countless more years in Charlotte to impact the community outside the game of football," Newton said. "I just wanted to leave my mark like I said outside the game of football."
In the kids' eyes, he's not just a quarterback.
"He's a great person for providing this for us," Key'Terrion Nelson said.
The children consider Newton a leader and a role model.
"He is a great supportive friend," Henry said.
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