Christmas arrived early this year for thousands of the District’s neediest residents, who received boxes filled with food, toys and personal care items at the second annual “Miracle in the Nation’s Capital.”
The event, hosted by the office of D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty in conjunction with the National Basketball Players Association and nonprofit organization Feed the Children, gave 10,000 needy families some essentials and holiday extras for the season.
Families with young children and senior citizens were filling the lines starting at the crack of dawn, with some people waiting for hours to get a hold of their free holiday gifts, volunteers reported.
“It has been a mad house in here since we started at 6 a.m.,” said volunteer Zella Moore. “Most of us will be here until after 9 p.m., so it’s going to be a long day.”
Basketball players for the Washington Wizards and the Toronto Raptors donated some of their own money to support the massive giveaway.
Twenty-six tractor-trailer loads of items were delivered to the D.C. Armory to be distributed by volunteers, including the basketball players themselves.
Raven Burnett, a junior at GW and member of the Epsilon Sigma Alpha community service organization, also dedicated her time to distribute supplies.
“We’re doing a lot of good here, but people can’t carry all that stuff out,” Burnett said about the flood of donations that filled the D.C Armory.
Timothy Kane, director of the Office of Community Service at GW, also volunteered at the event.
Washington Wizards player Mike James spoke of the importance of holding food drives, especially during an economic recession.
“Helping someone else is a blessing, but we shouldn’t only do it during the holiday season. When people leave today, they leave to go back to their struggles- we leave to a warm meal at home,” said James, who lived in poverty during his childhood.
Fenty spoke to reporters about how the 500,000 pounds of items donated by major organizations and corporations would benefit the families.
“I speak for most people when I say that I am proud of hosting the biggest turkey, coat and gift giveaway D.C. has seen in a long time,” Fenty said. “Times like these call for help and hope, and we are doing the best we can to deliver it.”