FSU football’s Amari Gainer and Pat Watkins partner with TPD to give kids a surprise shopping spree

Pat Watkins and Amari Gainer and his nonprofit AG Game Changers partnered with TPD's Pal and Academy Sports to give 20 Tallahassee kids a Christmas shopping spr
Published: Dec. 23, 2021 at 1:00 AM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Twenty Tallahassee students received a huge surprise at Academy Sports Tuesday as they were gifted a surprise shopping spree.

With the help of the Tallahassee PAL, Amari Gainer and Pat Watkins were able to make Christmas come early.

What started off as a normal Tuesday for 20 Tallahassee kids turned into an experience of a lifetime after they were given a one hundred dollar gift card to shop at Academy Sports.

“I was surprised and I was excited because some of this stuff I knew I wasn’t going to get so I was like I might as well go ahead and get it here,” shared Tallahassee PAL member Tyson McPherson.

The surprise was presented by Academy Sports, FSU football’s Amari Gainer, and Pat Watkins as well as TPD’s Police Athletic League, who say they just wanted to give back to the community.

“It’s very important because not everyone is blessed to be able to afford a lot of Christmas presents as we do and thanks to the academy for sponsoring up with us and being able to get them athletic equipment,” said FSU football linebacker and AG Game Changers founder Amari Gainer.

For some of the kids, they were able to shop with people they look up to.

“It’s really cool because like every Saturday that FSU is playing I’m really watching it and I see the plays that they’re making and it’s good to see that they’re here now,” exclaimed AG Game Changers member Amare Lewis.

For the PAL, they wanted to build on their relationships with the kids outside of their sporting leagues.

“It’s a really good way to continue our bond with the kids that we see sometimes just in the summer but we can see them all year round and let them know that we are still here for them regardless,” explained TPD PAL Director Anitra Highland Simmonds. “Whether its just playing basketball or just out in the community when they see us.”

The spree gets the community together for a day Lewis says he won’t take for granted.

“It means a lot because I know some kids aren’t as fortunate enough to get this opportunity that I did so I’m really grateful for what Amari has done for us,” shared Lewis.

Gainer says he hopes to continue to use his nonprofit AG Game Changerd to help the Tallahassee community that has given him so much.

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