In the pursuit of touching the hearts of kids and their parents, to show there are people in the world who care, Jerami Grant and his Hour Generation Foundation (HGF) team organized a Maryland-based community event in 2017. After its success sparked a yearly event, last fall HGF hosted its third annual “Thanksgiving Grant-ed” event to kick off the holiday season with joy.
As a native of Prince George’s County, Maryland who grew up playing at the local Boys & Girls Club of America (BAGC), Jerami’s desire was to partner with the organization to identify a community to serve. After sharing his heart with his mother, Beverly Grant, HGF’s Board Vice President and Gail Taylor, Secretary of the Board and event coordinator, he connected with Boys & Girls Club leadership. With the counsel of the National President of the BAGC Henry Saxon and Director Jim Almond, he selected a local club in Prince George’s County where he grew up. The clubs partnered with other BAGC clubs throughout the Greater Washington DC area. For the Denver Nuggets forward, it was about more than just hosting a quick, surface-level event as a professional athlete. He showed up during the summer before the event to actually get to know the kids. He worked out his foundation’s mission to inspire and empower youth to explore their talents by providing information, advocacy, and service.
Jerami emphasized providing an atmosphere at the event where families felt warmly welcomed. Upon arrival, 250 families were ushered in by a student-athlete from his Alma Mater, DeMatha Catholic High School, who served as their personal, designated host for the day.
DJ Chris Styles, a DeMatha Alum, set the ambience with cheerful, holiday music. Guests indulged in breakfast sandwiches from Chic-Fil-A, waffles, and fresh fruit before they and took silly pictures in the photo booth. Face painters were on hand to transform children into adorable little animals. Spontaneous announcements throughout the day for giveaways of shoes, iPads, gift cards, and swag bags added to the excitement.
According to Gail Taylor, “Jerami wanted to make a difference by lessening the burden the holiday season can bring. He led heartfelt conversations with our team to determine how we could support in a sustainable way.” The guests received an entire Thanksgiving meal, complete with turkeys and insulated bags filled with all the trimmings to prepare dinner, including fresh fruit, vegetables, and seasonings.
Well versed in the conditions produced by food deserts, the 26-year-old was adamant about adding long-term value. He arranged for a nutritionist, (who is also a DeMatha grad), to guide families on food, nutrition, preparation, and its impact on overall health.
In an effort to serve more families within the same community, the foundation is currently planning the 4th annual event scheduled for this upcoming November.