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By Alex Sigua
December 23, 2008

Francisco Garcia
Francisco Garcia

On Tuesday afternoon, your Sacramento Kings and Monarchs joined with proud partner Raley’s & Bel Air in ensuring local families in need were well fed for the holidays.

Kings players Francisco Garcia, Kenny Thomas and Shelden Williams, Monarchs player Rebekkah Brunson, Monarchs assistant coach Monique Ambers and volunteers from Maloof Sports & Entertainment teamed up to create positive memories by donating Traditional Holiday Turkey Dinners from Raley’s Fresh Deli at two special events.

The donations wrapped up Maloof Sports & Entertainment’s seventh annual “Season of Giving,” which consisted of a series of charitable events and projects aimed at making a positive and meaningful difference in the lives of children and families in need.

At Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Sacramento, Garcia and volunteers from Maloof Sports & Entertainment donated dinners to 50 families in need, with a majority of them Spanish speaking. Along with providing food, Garcia interacted and related with many of his fellow community members who share his native tongue.

“I think it’s great for the community,” Garcia said genuinely. “They get a chance to talk to me and see a different side of me that they don’t see on the basketball court.”

In addition to his local goodwill, Garcia recently sponsored a similar food donation in his native Dominican Republic.

“Two days ago, we did this in the Dominican Republic and it turned out great,” Garcia said warmly. “Everyone was happy and it was a great turnout. These are things I like to do, especially during the holidays. Especially in my country, I know it’s big for the Spanish community when role models come out and interact with them, so it’s big for me.”

Across town at the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, Thomas, Williams, Brunson, Ambers and Maloof Sports & Entertainment volunteers greeted 200 families as they arrived to pick up their “Holiday in a Box.”

“This makes me feel really good,” said Susana Hernandez of Sacramento, upon receiving her special gift. “I am so happy because these people came out to help us.”

The smiles were seen all around as the Kings, Monarchs and families cherished the experience together.

“Anytime you’re able to come out here in the community and show yourself, not only in your eyes, but also in their eyes, we’re doing good deeds,” said Williams. “Especially around this time with the Season of Giving, it’s a great thing.”

For Thomas, the annual “Holiday in a Box” event is a personal highlight that he looks forward to each season.

Rebekkah Brunson
Rebekkah Brunson

“This is my third year doing this, so I’m familiar with it,” said Thomas. “This is especially the time to give back. We’re very blessed to have this opportunity and people look up to us, so that makes me feel good and I know it makes my teammates and the Maloofs feel good to be able to do this.”

“I’m really enjoying this,” Brunson said with a smile. “I always enjoy any opportunity to come out in the community, especially during the holiday season, so I’m having a great time out here.”

As the diverse group of families celebrated holiday cheer with the Kings and Monarchs, they all shared a sincere feeling of gratitude.

“It really feels good to receive something,” said Kizzy Pina of Sacramento. “Especially when you don’t know what you’re going to do for Christmas, but they’ve made it a little special.”

Additional “Season of Giving” events this holiday season included holiday shopping sprees hosted by Kevin Martin, Bobby Jackson, Brad Miller and Spencer Hawes, a donation by the Kings Women’s Organization to WEAVE’s (Women Escaping a Violent Environment) Holiday Toy Shoppe and a surprise visit to the Shriners Hospital for Children.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church Photo Gallery
"Holiday in a Box" Photo Gallery

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