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Pitbull donates toys in his old neighborhood

BY RODOLFO ROMAN
SPECIAL TO THE MIAMI HERALD
Under the rain, Shenandoah Middle School student Anderson Cheatham, 13, played basketball with friends at Wynwood’s Roberto Clemente Park.

Anderson killed time shooting hoops, while his mother, brothers and sisters waited in line to enter the park’s Dorthy Quintana Community Center Building to get a new basketball.

“I love to play basketball,” he said. “It is so much fun.”

He and his family were among more than 450 people who attended the annual Toy A-Way event Saturday at Roberto Clemente Park, 101 NW 34th St.

“I can’t wait to play with the ball with my friends,” said Anderson.

Over 500 toys were donated to neighborhood kids ages 1 through 16 by hip-hop musician and Miami native Armando Pérez better, known as Pitbull. William Rice, better known as DJ Rice, and other community members also donated toys.

The event was hosted by Planetpit.com, the city of Miami and the Imaginate Foundation, a non-profit organization. Everything from Barbie and Bratz dolls to footballs and pre-paid cell phones were given to children who were pre-registered by park officials. Bicycles and other soccer balls were also raffled.

Not only were toys given away, but children and families enjoyed hamburgers, hot dogs, cotton candy, bounce houses and music.

Derrick Turton, of Pitbull Productions, said Wynwood is dear to the rapper since he was raised in the area.

“Because of the financial times this is a way of giving back,” he said. “It’s not about the presents or any of this stuff it is really about these kids having a good holiday.”

Students from William H. Turner Technical Arts High School and community members also volunteered to organize the event and distribute food and toys.

Holding an umbrella, Wynwood resident Anna Echevarria said she was grateful for the effort.

“We are appreciative because sometimes we don’t have things for the kids so we do what we can,” she said. “So for them to do this for us, it touches our heart; it shows that they care.”

Angie Lee of Youth Community Help Services, who coordinated the event, said it’s about brightening families’ lives.

“We want to put a smile on these kids faces this holiday season,” she said.

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