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BOSTON (CBS) –Shaquille O’Neal returned to Boston on Friday, but his visit had nothing to do with basketball.
And that is not just because there is no NBA at this time.
Shaq read to head start children in Dorchester, followed by the once “Big Shamrock” handing out turkeys to needy families. It was all part of the Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) kicking off their “Winter Emergency Campaign.”
WBZ-TV’s Jonathan Elias reports
WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Jim Smith Reports
For Shaq, helping out was a no brainer.
“In 1975 when I was a kid, my mother was a head start alumni,” said Shaq. “We grew up in Newark New Jersey; I didn’t always have the ability to do what I wanted to do. But one thing we had was love from the neighborhood, love from certain organizations. So when they called and asked me to do this, this is something I had to do.”
“One of those kids sitting down, that was definitely me in 1975 in Newark, New Jersey,” he said.
The new campaign by ABCD ensures families can star safe and warm this winter while looking forward to a more hopeful future.
While helping out in Boston is a start, Shaq wants to do more.
“My dream is to do this all across the nation, but of course I can’t be in 50 states at once,” he said. “But if every big-time person or big-time business man could just do something. There are a lot of seen and unseen people doing their part, and I thank you for that, but it’s going to take a nation to feed the hungry people.”
O’Neal is also on a mission to make sure every child in need has at least something under their tree this Christmas.
“Things I do now are things I was taught,” said O’Neal, saying his mother and father were the ones to create the “Shaq” persona. “If I can come in and make a little kid laugh, be part of helping them wake up on Christmas… consensus shows 16 million kids will wake up without a toy on Christmas. That is kind of sad, so if I can help slim those numbers, that’s why we ask people to donate clothes, toys, whatever.”
“I love to see kids smile, because that was me when I a youngster. It’s all about helping those in need.”