By Rick Ritter

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The holidays came early for dozens of area children.

After a year away for the coronavirus pandemic, the third-annual “Shrimp and Gifts” event came back stronger than ever. Jimmy’s Famous Seafood, Walmart and WJZ teamed up to give 100 area kids a shopping a one-of-a-kind shopping spree at the Arbutus Walmart Monday night.

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Both Walmart and Jimmy’s Famous Seafood “Famous Fund” donated a total of $25,000, giving the kids $250 each to shop with.

“Especially after not being able to do this after last year, it just reinforces that we have a duty for these kids and there’s nothing like Christmas time,” said John Minadakis, co-owner of Jimmy’s Famous Seafood. “When you’re in a position to help, I think it’s your duty to do so.”

After arriving in limousines & luxury buses that were graciously donated by Platinum Plus Limousines Inc. & Executive CLS  – each recipient was treated to dinner from Jimmy’s & some time with Santa & the Grinch on the dance floor, while also enjoying a hot chocolate station, Cupcakes by Cynthia & a popcorn bar – all set up by Walmart, who went above & beyond to give these kids a night to remember.

After enjoying all of the activities, it was time for the students to shop.

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Students were selected from 5 programs including the SEED School of Maryland, Torrey Smith’s Level 82 Academy, The SAFE Alternative Program, The Challenge 2 Change Program & St Ignatius School.

Ravens tight end Mark Andrews, wide receiver Rashod Bateman, offensive guard Ben Cleveland and former wide receiver Torrey Smith joined in on the fun, donating their night to help make the students smile.

Even after a sore loss to the Browns on Sunday, the players say coming out to support their community, is always a top priority.

“I know being young and what it means when looking up to guys in professional sports. I just want to be someone they can look up to and make them strive to achieve,” Andrews said. “This whole thing is just awesome being around these kids & the great people that put on this event.”

 

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Rick Ritter