A local organization that gives so much to children in Miami was spotlighted for its efforts not just during this unprecedented time but over the course of many years.
Giving is the core of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami. The TODAY show's annual Toy Drive looks a little different due to the pandemic -- but in partnership with NBC's parent company Comcast and with help from NBC 6, Big Brothers Big Sisters received toys and gifts for some 250 families on Tuesday morning.
“It was fantastic,” exclaimed 10-year-old Gissel Paz. “I am so happy. I’m speechless because I didn’t expect the presents would be exactly the same I wanted. [I am] just so surprised and really happy about it.”
More than 20,000 toys were donated across the country for TODAY's Toy Drive.
“I’m excited because it’s a college football,” 14-year-old Cedric Oliver said about his new football. “I’m happy because I like football. I love football.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami’s commitment to the community was recognized and shown across the country on the TODAY show Tuesday morning.
“Today is a special day in a very challenging year,” said Gale Nelson, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami. “Today is so important to us because we are able to spread some holiday cheer.”
Along with distributing toys, about 350 bags of groceries were given out at a drive-through food distribution.
“Big Brothers Big Sisters is all about the power of friendship,” Nelson said. “But not just a friendship, a friendship that brings hope. A friendship that leads to a better future because that investment of someone’s time changes everything for a kid.”
“It means a lot to me because it has helped me throughout my life because I had a lot of abilities I didn’t know I had,” Paz said.
Oliver said having a mentor through the Big Brothers Big Sister program is like having an actual big brother.
“This program, it’s really not a mentorship, it’s actually like a big brother to have,” Oliver said. “We’ve been matched for four years now. So it's like an actual big brother to look up to.”
Ronald Washington, Oliver's "big brother," said he takes being a role model very seriously.
"(Oliver has) helped me become a better person, and I hope I’ve impacted him and steer him in the right direction," Washington said.