Young men surprise 10 needy families with Christmas gifts

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A group of young men delivered Christmas gifts to 10 families in need on Monday as part of the annual I am a Gentleman giveaway.

"We ask families what they're greatest needs are. And to our surprise, today we're visiting homes where entire families are sleeping on floors. So today we're delivering six brand new beds," said Jermaine Anderson, of I am a Gentleman. "Everyone will get a coat, the children will get toys. It will be magical."

The gifts included toys, but also items to fulfill basic needs. The selected families also got a full Christmas meal which includes a cooked turkey and ham.

"It's a blessing. It's a gift from God. They just don't know how much joy and peace they have brought to me and to help my daughter in a situation like this," said Deneen Ervin, whose family received gifts.

Times have been tough for Ervin's three children. Their father died a year and a half ago.

In addition to toys, coats and bedding, the children are being set up with private counseling services.

The gifts were loaded into two large vans at the Chicago Police Department headquarters in the Bronzeville neighborhood. The police department again partnered with the organization.

"It's kind of a magical moment. I never did something like this before. It's better than just receiving. You can make other people happy," said Kaleed Chandler, who is part of the I am a Gentleman program.

The I am a Gentleman participants are young black men who are part of a mentoring program which teaches them how to take care of themselves and become role models in their community.

"I've definitely been in these people's situations before. I've been poor and stuff. It's great that even though I'm not way up there I still have a chance to make as much of a difference as I can where I am right now," said Brandon Smith, a participant in the I am a Gentleman program.
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