By Diane Larche’
It was just a few days after his 25th birthday and a few weeks before Christmas.
De’Andre Hunter a small forward with the NBA Atlanta Hawks arrived for a meet and greet
with families and children who would smile ear to ear and bubble over with excitement as the 6’8, 225 pound professional basketball player, spoke to them and went about handing out presents, taking selfies, signing autographs and spending time with the children and their parents.
The meet and greet where the young children and teenagers enjoyed a meal before Hunter arrived, was held at Hope Atlanta, a nonprofit organization founded in the early 1900s and dedicated to preventing and fighting homelessness and hunger. Its mission is to help citizens of Georgia avoid homelessness and hunger through a comprehensive approach that equips them with the tools for lifelong stability. The organization did the shopping for the toys and gifts that were paid for by Hunter
Hunter who grew up in Philadelphia and graduated from Friends Central High School in Wynnewood, PA, led his University of Virginia team to the 2019 NCAA Championship and was drafted 4th in the NBA draft later that year.
He recalled how he was raised being around loved ones and the tradition every year of getting together for Christmas at his grandmother’s home in North Philadelphia.” I understand what Christmas is about to have that joy and have that loving spirit, ” De’Andre shared. “I think it is Important. It’s about giving back to the community. I feel like Atlanta has embraced me. My second home. I just want to give back. This is the least I could do.”