DETROIT (WWJ) — It’s the season for giving and one former Michigan State Basketball star is heading an initiative in which several hundred Detroit families will receive holiday gift packages.

Mateen Cleaves and “1 Goal, 1 Passion: Hope for the Holidays” distributed the items Friday afternoon at the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Michigan, and will give additional packages Saturday. Cleaves said that he just wants help families enjoy their holiday.

“We work hands-on with Habitat For Humanity, the United Way, the Boys & Girls Club because they’re able to interact and deal with these families on a day-to-day basis,” Cleaves said. “They hand-pick the families, they give them to us and that’s how we’re able to get the families that we’re looking for because we don’t want people taking advantage of the system.”

The packages consisted of meals, gifts, utility vouchers and access to counseling for job searches, budgeting and financial planning.

“This is a special time of year and I want families to be able to enjoy that,” Cleaves said. “I’m just trying to use my influence to bring the community together to help raise money and reach out to different sponsors to be able to help provide for these families.”

Families that were selected will also get $100 gift cards from Meijer in their packages. “1 Goal, 1 Passion” has passed out packages to families in Grand Rapids, Saginaw, Lansing and Flint as well.

“It warms my heart to do things like this,” Cleaves said. ” I hate having to fundraise or things of that sort — asking for money — but it warms my heart to be able to see the families when they come in and to be able to help.”


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