Hip hop star Meek Mill donated $500,000 worth of Christmas gifts to Philadelphia families in need on Sunday.
The line stretched for several blocks outside the Grand Yesha Ballroom on 2308 Snyder Avenue where the event took place from noon to 5 p.m.
Mill, born Robert Rihmeek Williams, arrived to greet the thousands of people who attended.
“I feel like if you can help, help,” he said. “We’ve been doing it for a while now in our community.”
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Mill, 34, along with his DreamChasers organization and with support from Fanatics CEO and Sixers co-owner Michael Rubin, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Roc Nation, gave away several gifts during the event, including macbooks, Amazon Fire HD tablets, bikes, helmets, gift cards, board games, dolls and winter coats.
“I’m trying to get him a laptop or like a tablet or something so he could play with it,” Lasheya Wright, a mom from Drexel Hill who attended the event, told NBC10. “He likes electronics.”
Wright said the past two years have been difficult for her family and she was blown away by the kindness of strangers.
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“It’s great. I love it,” Wright said. “I love when people give back to the community. It’s the best.”
Mill also made a separate $30,000 donation to the Philadelphia chapter of Twelve Days of Christmas, a volunteer organization that provides supplies to families in need during the holidays.
Mayor Jim Kenney and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw also attended the event.
“I appreciate it because it’s real inspirational to the youth because there’s a lot going on right now and it's a lot of killing going on right now,” Saeed Huntley of South Philadelphia said. “But it’s like he’s really helping. It’s real inspirational and I appreciate it.”
Mill, who was born and raised in Philadelphia, is a Grammy-nominated rapper with two Platinum albums and two Gold albums. His fifth solo studio album, “Expensive Pain,” was released in October, debuting at number 3 on the US Billboard 200 chart.
Mill got the attention of criminal justice reform advocates after a judge in Pennsylvania sentenced him to 2-to-4 years in prison for violations of his probation conditions in a decade-old gun and drug possession case. He was incarcerated for months before a court ordered him released in 2018.
Since then, Mill has been an advocate for criminal justice reform.
On Wednesday before the Sixers took on the Miami Heat at the Wells Fargo Center, Mill played basketball with 25 Philadelphia-area children from families who have been adversely affected by the criminal justice system.
“I am one of those kids, so I know what it means to be in those types of situations,” Mill said Wednesday. “I make sure I cater to it the way I just did it out there. It’s fun for me, too.”