WHEN TYSHAI ROBERTS arrived at Homeland on Monday afternoon, she didn’t have a detailed list or extensive, mapped out strategy for her $500 shopping spree. She wanted her kids to fully enjoy the experience of spending time with an NBA player and getting anything they wanted for a change. As a single mom, that’s a luxury Roberts can rarely offer to her three kids.
“It’s about them first,” said Roberts. “I’m here for them, I work for them, I do everything for them. It’s their experience so the happiness they have is what’s important to me.”
With Roberts’ nine-year-old daughter Myshai pushing the cart, her six-year-old son Myshawn directing traffic, and her eldest 10-year-old daughter Michel chiming in as the voice of reason, the very first stop on the excursion was the ice cream aisle. Thunder guard, Luguentz Dort offered a helping hand to the Roberts family as they slalomed through the aisles picking up everything from popsicles and yogurt to roses and gardenias.
“I probably would’ve gone a little bit crazier than they did,” admitted Dort as he thought back to his childhood and what it would’ve been like for him to get whatever he wanted at the grocery store.
“I would’ve taken anything I would’ve seen and put it in the cart. But it was just fun to see them happy.”
Feeding three growing children as a single mother is an onerous task in itself, but when your youngest child has a heart condition requiring a pacemaker and special attention to diet, the feat becomes that much more taxing.
“It’s overwhelming, it’s exciting…” Roberts turned away as her eyes filled with tears. The past few months have been tough for the Roberts household. Between a small house fire causing electrical damage to Roberts herself undergoing surgery, the family was due for a turn in fate.
“Just knowing that someone cared enough to realize how much hard work it is to be a single mom is why it means so much to me and my kids,” said Roberts.
The good fortune didn’t stop at the checkout counter for Roberts. The group posed for a group photo next to their three carts filled to the rim with a hodgepodge of sugary grocery items. After the final click of the camera, Dort turned to Roberts and revealed a second $500 gift card and said, “This one’s for mama.” He held the card over the head of six-year-old Myshawn who was eager for another chance to roam the aisles on his own agenda.
“I was shocked,” said Roberts with a laugh as she replayed the surprise in her head. “I think that’s what brought the tears because not only will it be helpful now, but it will be helpful once these are gone. I can come shop again and be able to keep providing for the kids.”
Of all the things balancing precariously on Roberts’ plate as a single mother of three, feeding her family is one thing she can take off her mind for at least a little while.
“The burden is not just lifted a little, but a LOT,” Roberts said.