ORLANDO - “Have a holly jolly Christmas. It’s the best time of the year. Now I don’t know if there’ll be snow. But have a cup of cheer.” – Johnny Marks
For Orlando resident Tanisha and her family, that verse from the 1962 holiday song, A Holly Jolly Christmas, pairs perfectly with their recent life breakthroughs.
Earlier this month, with assistance from Habitat for Humanity of Greater Orlando & Osceola County, Tanisha and her four children moved out of their crowded apartment complex and into a brand-new Central Florida home.
The change of environment will do wonders for their health and spirit. Tanisha is excited about her growth potential in her career, while the children now have safe conditions to play outside and focus on their education.
“Ever since I’ve been staying on my own, I’ve been staying in an apartment,” she said. Now that I have my own home, it definitely means making memories, building family wealth, and encouraging them that they (her kids) can also do the same and that the journey definitely doesn’t stop here.”
The good times kept on rolling on Friday, Dec. 23 while attending the Orlando Magic’s game at Amway Center against the San Antonio Spurs. At halftime, they learned that they were this year’s Magic Big Give recipients.
At center court, the family were showered with holiday gifts and other items from the Magic and many of their corporate partners.
Among the gifts they received were a flat screen TV, air fryer, a driveway basketball hoop, home accessories, $5,000 of home furnishings provided by AdventHealth, a gaming machine from Arcade1Up, six Disney Park Hopper Passes courtesy of Disney, $500 from Kroger, one year supply of Papa John’s pizza, a $100 gift card from PDQ, and a gift basket from Magic Gaming.
“I was trying to hold all my tears back,” Tanisha said. “I am definitely so thankful, and again, it definitely has blessed my family. I couldn’t be more excited. I couldn’t be happier and be more thankful.”
The family rode in a limo to and from the Amway Center, and they cheered on the Magic from their Ultimate seats after enjoying dinner in the Fields Ultimate Lounge.
It was the second straight day the Magic surprised them. On Thursday, they were one of 25 underserved families that the Magic delivered $100 Kroger gift cards to.
“It means that there are still good, kind-hearted people out there,” Tanisha said. “I know that the Magic could be doing so many other things and blessing so many other families and I’m just grateful that they chose to decide to help myself and my family. During this Christmas time, they not only helped us, but I see they helped others in the community…The Magic definitely helps out the city of Orlando tremendously.”
This was the 14th consecutive season of the Magic’s Big Give. Each year, one family is selected by the Magic as part of their assemblage of holiday events that help lift the spirits of local families and children.
“It’s amazing what the organization has done, what the DeVos family has done, what they continue to do is just so important to who we are, who this organization is, and what we are about,” Magic Head Coach Jamahl Mosley said. “Taking care of those obviously in times of need, but during the holiday season, it’s so special to be able to be a blessing to so many.”