Article written by: Bria Jones
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A local non-profit organization spread some holiday cheer by giving away $20,000 to families in need during its annual holiday shopping spree event on Tuesday.

A prayer circle kicked off the holiday shopping spree at the East Memphis Target.

Constance Givens is thankful for help purchasing Christmas presents for her three grandsons.

“It’s kind of hard trying to pay your bills and keep the lights on and groceries in the house and take care of the boys but I just thank God for this place,” she said.

She’s a proud recipient of this annual holiday tradition put on by Memphis Athletic Ministries also known as MAM.

The faith-based non-profit focuses on connecting with children through sports.

CEO Johnathan Torres says this year with the help of the community and partnerships they gave out $20,000 dollars, helping more than 120 children in need. Each family received a $125 gift card per child.

“As we know the economy has hit us all kind of rough gas prices are crazy and inflation has got us all over the place and so we’re here to support our families who may be a little down this year,” Torres said.

Cherry Hobbs and Brandon Blue are parents of seven children and they are grateful for the help.

“We have some hard times, especially having so many kids, but we really enjoy this and really thankful for this,” Hobbs said.

With baskets filled to the top with gifts to go under the tree, Nicole Buchanan, a volunteer and former MAM student, said she can already see the Christmas morning smiles.

“It means a lot because I grew up in a poverty neighborhood. I went to a poverty school my family kind of a little poverty so it made me look at stuff differently. I’m really just grateful they still doing this,” Buchanan said.

In addition to MAM wrapping the gifts, parents were also given laundry baskets filled without household essentials. Target also offered a percentage off for shoppers.

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