The Atlanta Hawks partnered with nonprofit organization Santa for a Day and housing authority Atlanta Housing to provide a holiday experience for underserved youth.
Volunteers at the event — which took place at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center and Aquatic Center — gave out toys to 60 children, ages 5-12, who are currently living in public housing properties.
Also in attendance to help hand out gifts at the event were Hawks assistant coach Nick Van Exel, along with Hawks players Trent Forrest, Jalen Johnson, Vít Krejčí and Tyrese Martin. The Atlanta Hawks Dancers and winged mascot Harry the Hawk were also at the event.
“We are so honored to once again collaborate with Santa for a Day and Atlanta Housing to make wishes come true for some of Atlanta’s youth,” said Hawks’ Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility and Basketball Programs Jon Babul. “Through this event and with the help of our players and assistant coach, we have provided an unforgettable experience that youth in attendance will cherish forever.”
In addition to receiving gifts, the children at the event got to watch movies, play a variety of games, as well as participate in a photo station.
This was the second holiday season in a row where the Atlanta Hawks and Santa for a Day teamed up to distribute gifts for underserved children.
The event wrapped up a larger two-part initiative by the two organizations to provide holiday cheer and presents to around 400 children. Back in October, over 80 children participated in an event that involved writing letters to Santa and asking for gifts that they wanted for the holiday season.
“Working with the Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Housing has been absolutely incredible, and I am so proud of the impact we’ve made together these last two years,” said Rich Gentile, founder of Santa for a Day. “Seeing the smiles on these children’s faces is what Christmas is all about, and the fact that we were able to spread that joy to 60 kids is amazing. I am extremely thankful for all of our wonderful donors, volunteers and partners that help our organization grant as many wishes as possible.”