Thunder Cares and Infant Crisis Services – The Perfect Formula

Paris Lawson

By Paris Lawson | Digital Content Reporter

Karen Garland learned that she won a $500 shopping spree at Homeland and made an immediate decision – stock up on meat. She could get her canned veggies and other smaller items on her own, but if she had a free $500 to spend at the grocery store, the meat would be her first priority.

“That was my strategy, go straight to the meat,” Garland said.

Once at Homeland with her two granddaughters Kiera and Taleah Myrks by her side and Thunder guard Hamidou Diallo steering the cart, Garland made a bee line for the deli.

“She was well planned out. She knew exactly what she wanted,” said Russell Raydon, store manager of Homeland at Yukon. “She loaded up on the meats. She’s got a lot of meals ready to go.”

This was a relief for Garland who had endured a lot in her time. In 2009, she suffered a stroke which compromised her legs, forcing her to relearn how to walk. As a result of the stroke, Garland’s health took a downward turn with several other ailments striking her on the road to recovery including a brain aneurism and a case of walking pneumonia.

“I’ve gone through so much in my life,” Garland said. “I had three or four things at the same time that could’ve killed me and I just felt like that was a miracle that I’m up and even moving around.”

Nearly 11 years later, Garland still doesn’t take walking through to the grocery store for granted. In addition to the gratefulness of merely being able to walk around the aisles, she oozes with appreciation that she can stock up on all of the essential ingredients to cook for her beloved family and grandchildren.

“I’m set for a few months,” Garland said. “It’s just a blessing.”

For Diallo, his joy stemmed from seeing how happy Garland was knowing first-hand how much of a relief this shopping trip would be not only for her, but for her grandchildren as well.

“That would’ve been great if my family had that opportunity growing up,” Diallo said, who grew up in Lefrak City, a massive apartment complex in the heart of Queens, New York. “I’m pretty sure my mom would’ve been bawling out crying and she would’ve just been so excited.”

“That’s why us as players and us as players as a Thunder organization do what we do because the kids are our future and the people are our future as well.”

That same level of excitement beamed from Garland as Diallo handed her a second $500 gift card after the group checked out at the register much to her surprise. Now, she could come back and pick up everything else she needed to go with the cart load of meat she purchased. The thought of this thrilled her granddaughters who love her cooking. From spaghetti to pork chops, the thought of her grandmother’s cooking made Kiera smile from ear to ear.

“I am very excited because I know she’s gonna get in that kitchen and start cooking and I love to eat,” said Kiara.

Watch: Hami Goes Homeland Shopping


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