On Saturday there was a “Miracle on 1st Street” for more than 10,000 children in Los Angeles, and in Chicago there was another heartwarming display with an extreme home makeover for a needy family.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dwyane Wade were among the celebrities who used their star power to help others celebrate the holiday season through their charity initiatives.
Toys and meals were abound at the 35th annual Miracle on 1st Street giveaway in L.A.’s Boyle Heights neighborhood, where longtime supporter Schwarzenegger has been playing the role of Santa Claus (without the costume) for the past 25 years — handing out presents to children at the Hollenbeck Youth Center, an organization dedicated to creating athletic, educational and cultural enrichment programs for inner-city youths.
“I was very fortunate that I have made it in this country,” he told the crowd. “I have made money, fame and everything that I wanted. But I’ll never forget that there’s a lot of people who need help. That’s why it’s always a pleasure for me to rush over here to the Hollenbeck Center to donate money to have turkey dinners… and now we’re here handing out gifts for the kids so that everyone can have a great Christmas.”
The actor and former Republican governor of California (2003-2011) shared the stage with former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, whom he praised for being an example of how different political parties can work together: “My very good friend Antonio, who was a great mayor for eight years… we worked together when I was governor and he was mayor and we were the perfect team to prove how Democrats and Republicans can work together for the better of the state.”
Big 5 Sporting Goods has partnered on the Hollenbeck Police Business Council’s community event for the past 20 years. “Thousands of disadvantaged children receive presents at our toy giveaway each year and it’s so rewarding to see them light up with joy,” Daniel Hernandez, CEO and president of the Hollenbeck Police Business Council said.
In 1996, retailer Big 5 Sporting Goods joined the cause after thieves stole toys that were intended for the children, director of public affairs Rick Gridley told Footwear News. “We give sporting goods and toys, as well hold a fundraising program that’s customer supported, where we sell ornaments in stores and proceeds go to the Hollenbeck Center.”
Meanwhile, Dwyane Wade was in the Windy City making holiday dreams come true, too.
The Chicago Bulls baller and his team partnered with retailer The RoomPlace and his own Wade’s World Foundation to surprise a needy family in the city’s Austin neighborhood with brand new furniture and presents. The organization also does similar events in South Florida, where Wade played for Miami Heat.
Wade stunned the family with the home makeover when he arrived in person and took them on a tour of the new goods, along with an invitation to watch the Bulls take on the Wizards during a game scheduled on Friday.
The basketball star shared the reaction in a live Facebook video.