Claressa Shields, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and undisputed women’s world middleweight champion, hosted her second annual Christmas giveaway on Friday, Dec. 23 in Mt. Morris Township.
The event took place within AT Fitness, 2189 Coldwater Rd., and included different items distributed to Flint-area families.
“It’s been such a blessing to be able to do so, see all the kids happy and smiling and to see how thankful the parents are because we don’t just have toys,” said Shields, whose fiancé Tony Richardson owns the fitness center. “We’ve got turkeys, the food bags, toiletries, toothpaste, toothbrush, hats, coats, gloves…just to make their Christmas, you know, be more family oriented and they don’t have to go without.
“I’m happy that we can help in the areas that the community actually needs some help in during these hard times.”
Myanna Matthews was among those in attendance on the frigid Friday afternoon with her daughter, Mimoura.
“Right now, I’m kind of going through a lot, so being able to have at least one gift for her means a lot to me,” she said. “It’s a good turnout. I’m glad the amount of people that showed up did show up. It’s honestly surprising. It’s also a good thing to be able to do this in Flint around this time.”
Shields reached out to Flint organizations as well as the PFL (Professional Fighters League), whom she fights for in MMA, and Salita Promotions, whom she fights for in the boxing ring, to help provide donations for the event along with digging deep into her own pockets.
The boxing champion noted she’d seen some people in the crowd sheds tears “because they’re so happy and thankful.”
“I’ve taken so many pictures. It feels like every moment. You’ve got kids saying thank you and giving me hugs and stuff, that just means a lot,” she said, hoping to continue to grow what’s become an annual event.
“It’s not about the money or whatever, it’s really about making the community feel better, to make us all happier around this time,” said Shields. “Because, one it’s cold, a lot of us are going through things mentally, but to get that knowing, you know, that their child won’t have to go without for Christmas, that they can have a nice gift, you can have a good dinner… I’m happy that we can step in that way and we plan to do it three times bigger next year.”