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Evander Holyfield brings holiday cheer to an Atlanta family in need

Boxing champ Evander Holyfield celebrated Christmas early this year, surprising a local woman and her two daughters with a bounty of toys. Single mom Staci and her girls Makayla, 8, and Jaiden, 4, were nominated as part of Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s 12 Days of Giving effort and got to meet Holyfield Sunday afternoon at the Salvation Army Fuqua Boys & Girls Club in downtown Atlanta.

“This is amazing,” Staci said as her daughters admired their gifts of dolls, skates, art supplies and more. The three relocated here from south Georgia in search of a new start, and lived at the Atlanta Mission before moving into transitional housing. Due to privacy and security concerns, Staci asked that her last name not be published.

“I’m struggling,” Staci said. “I know God has me and has a plan for me. This is really a help.”

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A Boys & Girls Clubs of America alum, Holyfield was happy to team up with the organization to provide the gifts.

“It kind of reminds me of how I became who I am,” he said. “The Boys & Girls Club gave me that opportunity. The true point of appreciation is coming back and spreading the word to let people know there is hope.”

Jaiden and Makayla delighted in showing Holyfield their new quilting kit and singing “Frozen” doll. As a little guy he was big into fire trucks, Big Wheels and Tonka toys.

“When you remember how somebody did something for you it kind of reminds you to give something back,” he said. “If we kind of live Christmas daily, we’ll make this whole world a better place.”

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Jennifer Brett is a multiplatform journalist and digital coach. She writes The Buzz blog for