Dwight Powell had such a heart-warming time paying off the remaining balances on layaways for underprivileged families at a Wal-Mart in South Oak Cliff last week that the Dallas Mavericks’ center decided to do it again on Monday.
This time underprivileged families at a Burlington in Northeast Dallas were the recipients of Powell’s benevolence as they all learned that their Christmas will indeed be a joyous occasion thanks to the generosity of the six-year veteran who paid off the balances on their layaways.
“It’s great to be in a position where I have the opportunity to give back, and especially around this time of year,” Powell told Mavs.com. “I know it’s some things that they’ve been saving up for, and to get them in time for the holidays it’s definitely a great feeling and something that I think it’s important to help out others when you can.”
Lakisha Moore definitely appreciated Powell reaching out and surprising and helping her family and others. Moore has three grandchildren – 3-year old Parker, 5-year old Skylar and 10-year old Christian – who are guaranteed to wake up on Christmas morning wearing a wide-eyed smile on their face because of Powell being so generous.
“This is like a true blessing because many families are underprivileged and they don’t have the money to buy gifts for their family,” Moore said. “But for me as a grandmother this has been exceptional, and I’m very grateful.
“My grandkids will be a lot happier, and I owe it all to the Mavericks. I really do thank them so much.”
Mavs proprietor Mark Cuban was on hand for Monday’s festivities and to offer support to Powell. Monday’s surprise, in fact, resulted from a conversation Powell had with Cuban.
The Mavs, Burlington and the non-profit Pay Away The Layaway helped make the surprise came to fruition.
“I was talking to Mark about it and he said, ‘Yeah, we should definitely do it again,’ “ Powell said. “We’re in town, so why not?
“We reached out to the people at Pay Away The Layaway to set it up with a few Mavs, and we we’re fortunate to be able to get down here and do it again.”
Katie Edwards, the vice president of community relations for the Mavericks, said the bill for Monday’s layaways was approximately $8,000 and last week’s tab was close to $3,000.
“It’s just such a wonderful feeling, especially the day before Christmas Eve when all the families are preparing for the holidays and you yourself are preparing for the holidays with your family,” Edwards said. “To be able to come out and see these families and have them get their Christmas presents and things that they need for the holiday that they maybe couldn’t have gotten right before the holidays, it’s such a special moment to be able to see them receive it and be so grateful.
“More than $10,00 worth (of gifts), and such a special time to be able to see them with all of the kiddos and all the festive holiday wear and feeling very in the spirit.”
Katrice Vantrice was very much in the Christmas spirit, too. But after what happen to a friend of hers around this time last year, she first had to do her due diligence.
Vantrice said a scammer told her friend she had won one of three gifts, and then proceeded to do the unthinkable.
“She told them, ‘Oh, can you give (the gift) to somebody else? We’re going to be out of town,’ “ Vantrice said. “So when they said, ‘We’re going to be out of town,’ they went and robbed those people.’ They lost everything.
“So that’s why I came up here (to Burlington before Monday’s event started) and I was like, ‘Hey, let me speak to the manager. Hey, is this true?’ She was like, ‘Yes, it’s not a scam.’ I was like, ‘I just want to make sure it was not a scam, because my friend, this is what happened to her.’ ”
The Burlington store manager Vantrice spoke to is Aileen Montoya.
“(Vantrice) asked to speak to me and I said, ‘No ma’am, it’s not a scam,’ “ Montoya said. “it’s a great holiday miracle and we’re here to contribute.’ I’m glad I’m the middle man and are able to observe this and be a part of such a great thing. It’s such a special announcement for my customers.
“I got some feedback from some of the families and they were so grateful. I had a couple of people that were heartfelt and were crying on the phone. They didn’t pick up their layaway because they didn’t have the money to pay off their layaway. They were just so surprised and happy and enthused.”
Powell also is happy and enthused to be in position to make a difference in a lot of people’s live.
“I think one of the important things we can never forget as NBA players and guys in our position is that because of the communities around us is why we’re able to do the things that we do,” Powell said. “So in any situation in any time if you can find ways to give back, it’s the most important part of our job, especially around the holiday season.
“It’s about family, it’s about community, it’s about being together. I think the more we can be together — especially in places like this — it’s just helping them during the holidays and helping them have a good time. I think it brings a lot of joy to everybody involved.”
Powell certainly brought a lot of joy to Montoya’s customers at Burlington.
“It’s very heart-warming that such a great organization like the Dallas Mavericks is contributing to the community, and especially for families in need during the holiday season,” Montoya said. “We appreciate it.”
Just knowing he was able to make a difference made the trip to Burlington worthwhile for Powell.
“I think the biggest thing is seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces and the excitement, and knowing they’re going to go home and enjoy their families with some actual good news,” Powell said. “It may be a small thing, but I think it’s great to be able to put a smile on someone’s face.”
After she wrapped her head around Monday’s blessing, Vantrice was overwhelmed that her three children – ages, 13, 15 and 17 – will be able to have the Christmas that she always wanted them to have. And she can thank Powell for that.
“My kids are going to appreciate it,” Vantrice said. “I’m really excited that a lot of people got blessed today.”