By Emilie St. John
INGLEWOOD — Earvin “Magic” Johnson and the Magic Johnson Foundation hosted Holiday Hope, an invite-only, drive-through community giveaway event at Faithful Central Bible Church Nov. 18.
Holiday Hope assisted more than 800 families from Inglewood and Los Angeles in receiving food and other items through the generosity of Johnson’s Foundation, Feed the Children, Mattel, Cricket, Starbucks and others.
“I’m inspired to give back because of my mother,” said Johnson, before the start of the event. “During Thanksgiving, my mother would make enough food to help other families in our neighborhood and my job was to deliver the plates so it stuck with me what was expected of me as a child and subsequently, as an adult.”
Outside of many charitable events in Los Angeles, Magic and his wife Cookie have been serving underserved youth and communities across the country since 1991. They hosted their first Holiday Hope Event in 2014 in Detroit, Flint and Lansing, Michigan.
“Cookie and I feel so incredibly thankful that we can be a blessing to so many families during the holiday season through our Holiday Hope event in Inglewood this year,” Johnson said. “We get so much joy seeing the excitement on everyone’s face when they receive the food, clothing and the multitude of items that will be provided by the Magic Johnson Foundation and our wonderful partners.”
The event was held in the heart of Inglewood in coordination with the Rev. John-Paul C. Foster, senior pastor at Faithful Central.
“One of my major initiatives for our church is to be in the community and impact families and being able to partner with Magic Johnson’s Foundation is absolutely phenomenal,” Foster said. “We are honored to give back and I am so grateful for Magic Johnson whose team has been phenomenal and the sponsors because we can’t do this alone and to build a community we have to do this together.”
Participating families received a 25-pound box of shelf-stable food, a 15-pound box of personal care items and a five-pound box of Avon products, provided by Feed the Children. Additional items distributed included toys, protein snacks, coats, eyewear, children’s books, canned food provided by Campbell’s, Power Crunch, Herbalife, Mattel and One Warm Coats.
Johnson began his professional career in Inglewood while playing with the Lakers and noted the changes from the early 1980s to today.
“When you think about where Inglewood is today versus when I was playing is totally different and are creating so many opportunities for entrepreneurs and creating jobs which is a wonderful thing,” Johnson said.
Emilie St. John is a freelance journalist covering the areas of Carson, Compton, Inglewood and Willowbrook. Send tips to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.