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‘Big Mama’ distributes about 1K Christmas gifts out of her home in Fort Lauderdale

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The line leading up to Big Mama’s house in Fort Lauderdale was as long as the eye could see Wednesday night.

The local philanthropist had prepared donated bags of toys, rows of bicycles, and toiletries for hundreds of children in the area.

“As I sit there and start bagging, it energizes me,” said Essie Reed, better known in South Florida as Big Mama.

'Big Mama' hands out more than 1,000 Christmas gifts in Fort Lauderdale

“I just think it’s a blessing, especially during this pandemic time,” said Shantavia Miller, a mother who arrived in an SUV with her children to pick up toys.

Earlier in the day, the Miami Heat organization also hosted a drive-through gift giveaway outside the American Airlines Arena. Twelve Miami-Dade Schools students deemed in great need receive laptops, a subscription for 8 months of internet service, toys, and meals.

“Anytime we have the opportunity to make people feel good, that’s the responsibility that we should welcome,” said retired Heat Forward Glen Rice.

In Doral, a family of 9 who recently lost almost everything when their house caught fire in Northwest Miami-Dade, was treated to a shopping spree at the Walmart Supercenter on Northwest 13th Terrace.

Helping Others and Giving Hope, a nonprofit organization, donated gift cards to the Arias family so they could purchase clothing and Christmas gifts.

About the Author:

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.