Notwithstanding the raging spur of the Omicron coronavirus that has created a renewed urgency in the battle against the stagnant pandemic, the Chargers, Rams and a bevy of local organizations led the way in sharing the gift of caring before the Christmas Holiday.
Former Chargers greats Antonio Gates and LaDainian Tomlinson continued a 17 year tradition of surprising local elementary school students with brand new bikes for the holidays.
The Chargers legends joined the Bikes for Kids Foundation and Pechanga Resort & Casino at Hooper Avenue Elementary in Los Angeles school where they were greeted by over 160 third graders. The bikes were built by Bolts Community Crew – powered by Pacific Premier Bank – volunteers the Saturday prior, and kept hidden from the students until Gates and LT revealed the news.
Meanwhile, not to be outdone, The Rams partnered with Campbell’s Soup to give out cans of soup, holiday blankets, Christmas trees and more to the first 200 families that came to visit Think Watts non-profit. Mascot Rampage and Rams Cheerleaders joined in on the fun.
LA Lounge, an Inglewood based private cigar lounge, donated toys to a variety of organizations including Sisters of Watts, The Department of Social Services and Inglewood Ave. Preschool Academy.
“We just hope we did enough to bring some happiness to kids during the Christmas season,” said owner Aaron Moore. “I pride myself on not just being a business that operates in Inglewood but one that makes a difference in the lives of the people of live in and around our community.”
Inglewood Ave. Preschool Academy has been a staple in Inglewood since 1985 and is now owned and operated by the third generation of family members in Kamiko Applewhite and her husband Gregory who took over in 2013.
“My mother suffered breast cancer and I was next in line. I was already working there so the transition was smooth,” Kamiko told Inglewood Today.
The infant center and preschool is instrumental in preparing her two grown children for college, she says.
“We really appreciate the donations from LA Lounge because many of our kids receive subsidies and their families resources are strained,” Kamiko added.
Also in on the holiday giving was Lawndale non-profit Our Global Humanity which partnered with LA Lounge and also made a significant toy donation to the Ethel Bradley Early Education Center in Watts.
Pat Harvey, who was the teacher responsible for connecting with Our Global Humanity was thrilled with the donations that provided toys for more than 60 kids.
“It was a blessing. I really want to thank Ken Miller and his organization for coming through in a very short period of time to help these kids have a wonderful holiday,” said Harvey.
During this time of the year, especially with a surging pandemic it is the generosity of professional sports teams and community groups that makes all the difference in the world to a child on Christmas Day.