Generous giver to the community surprised with some big gifts

NORTH LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A local woman who helps needy families across South Florida received an incredible surprise herself Friday.

Santa Claus may have a sleigh, but Big Mama now has a 2017 Dodge Journey.

“I haven’t had a real car in a long time,” Esse “Big Mama” Reed said Friday when she learned the car was hers.

For more than 30 years, Reed has been helping underprivileged children and families in Fort Lauderdale. Through her nonprofit Team of Life, Big Mama provides after-school programs, school supplies, hot meals, groceries, Thanksgiving turkeys and toys at Christmas.

She has been nationally recognized for her work, which has helped thousands of families in Broward County.

She had depended on others to help her deliver meals and toys across Broward County.

“I feel nothing but love here and I have something to ride in, toys for my kids, that means a lot,” she said.

She thought she was going to in North Lauderdale to pick up donated toys, but she was the one that got the surprise.

Alex “Big Lip” Chisholm, a deejay at radio station Hot 105, spearheaded the idea after a conversation with Big Mama.

“I found about her struggles and I ask her, ‘how can you help out so many people, yet you are struggling yourself,” Chisholm said.

He contacted the auto dealer.

“There was no doubt in my mind that we had to get Big Mama a car because she is so selfless and such an amazing person who gives back,” Monique Hausheer of Off Lease said.

Not only are there new wheels for the woman who refuses to put the brakes on giving to others, but there was something else in Big Mama’s stocking, too, on Friday.

“You do so much for other people,” Chisholm said as he handed Big Mama a check for $1,000. “Do something for yourself for once,” he said.

“It is such a blessing for me to see someone who does so much . . . and is selfless to get blessed with this situation,” Chisholm said.

Big Mama won’t have to worry about paying for insurance on the car for a year. That was also donated — by All Lines Insurance Associates.

“It couldn’t have been given to a more deserving person in our community,” said Hausheer.

Big Mama said she was grateful for so many things Friday, including a dependable ride.

“I don’t have to worry about being on the side of the road anymore,” she said.

About the Author:

Jeff Weinsier joined Local 10 News in September 1994. He is currently an investigative reporter for Local 10. He is also responsible for the very popular Dirty Dining segments.