It was the most wonderful time of year for more than 500 schoolchildren in the Atlanta area as Shaq-A-Claus (aka NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal) visited Wesley Lakes Elementary School in McDonough on Monday, Dec. 20 at 11 a.m.
The jolly big man brought extra big cheer, with plenty of surprises, toys and treats for boys and girls – including a visit from a full-sized version of Tonka’s iconic yellow dump truck. This marks the 20th year that Shaq-A-Claus has brightened the holidays for children in need around the country.
“It always brings pure joy to see these faces light up when they open their gifts,” O’Neal said. “But knowing these kids are also being set up for a successful new year with school supplies, warm clothes and other necessities that can be tough for some families to provide brings me yearlong satisfaction. I’m incredibly grateful to my business partners and their giving spirit for making this event so meaningful.”
This year, Shaq-A-Claus checked the following items off holiday wish lists, courtesy of business partners:
- Tonka Toys and Trucks by Basic Fun!
- Alkaline88 refreshments
- A selection of snacks courtesy of Frito-Lay
- $100.00 Walmart gift cards for all 5th grade students and their families donated by Pepsi Stronger Together
- Hobbytron gifts by World Tech Toys
- Fresh haircuts by Great Clips
- Jackets and socks from the Macy’s and Soles4Souls partnership
- Vera Bradley backpacks
- Dixon Ticonderoga school supplies
The festivities also included carnival games, a live DJ and lunch served by This Is It! Southern Kitchen & Bar-B-Q.