HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Christmas came early for twenty kids from the Boys and Girls Club of North Alabama! It’s all thanks to the Alabama A&M University Athletic Department!
Kids from the organization splurged on new shoes and new gear from the Academy Sports & Outdoors store and were given 100 dollars each after the school's $2,000 surprise gift card.
“We’ve got jackets. We’ve got tennis shoes. We’ve got some cool athletic stuff and clothing,” said Boys & Girls Club of North Alabama for Resource Development, Beth Morring.
For the kids at the Boys & Girls Club of North Alabama, leaders say many of them don’t have the opportunity to shop.
Beth Mooring said the need came up during their Leaders and Legends event over the summer.
“We really talked, and had kids up on stage talking about their life at the club, talking about their life outside the club and the needs they certainly had,” said Morring.
Mooring says it was more than just shopping. The kids learned a lot about what it means to spend on a budget.
“The hundred dollars has gone a long way. The kids not only shopping, but they’ve learned to understand about what something costs. We worked on math. We had to remember tax. That was a new experience for most of them.”
Academy sales associate Kenneth Wilbanks has worked here for about a month, and knows moments like these last a lifetime for customers like Isabella and Zykeria.
“Honestly, seeing the light up on their faces when they’re like - ‘We can get those?’ - I just loved it. And personally if I get to help out, it’s part of my job. And I do it everyday, said Wilbanks.
This is the Boys & Girls Club of North Alabama's first time ever partnering with Alabama A&M University for an event like this.
Academy Sports + Outdoors is teaming up with Alabama A&M to surprise the James A. Lane Boys & Girls Club with a $2,000 gift card to Academy Sports + Outdoors.
Kids and staff from the Boys & Girls Club will shop the store alongside A&M athletes for shoes, clothes, games... Basically, everything the store has to offer!
Throughout the years A&M student-athletes have mentored children from the Boys & Girls Club and Academy says they are proud to provide this donation.
"[This] gives them an opportunity to see what giving and receiving is like and an appreciation of it and get an opportunity to meet others and meet individuals from different walks of life. So, not only are they getting the gifts, they getting a lifelong learning experience," said Alabama A&M's Athletic Director, Bryan Hicks.
The organization will receive the donation prior to the highly anticipated Magic City Classic game on Saturday.
Academy Sports + Outdoors is the Official Sporting Goods and Outdoor Retailer of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). The partnership between Academy Sports + Outdoors and the SWAC focuses on establishing meaningful community initiatives within the SWAC footprint. Specifically, these initiatives will look to activate and amplify grassroots efforts, such as youth outreach and mentoring programs, that are inclusive of students, athletes and administrators from across the conference.