LOWER EAST SIDE, MANHATTAN (WABC) — What do Mayor Eric Adams, Saquon Barkley and Santa Claus have in common?

Each one offers hope this holiday season.

Adams and Barkley visited the Henry Street neighborhood on the Lower East Side on Wednesday to bring some holiday cheer to families. Greetings were delivered in the form of dolls, board games and autographed photos of Barkley.

Henry Street Settlement is a non-profit organization that offers everything from social services and the arts to health programs. Transitional housing is also provided.

Henry Street serves hundreds of families each night with the goal of getting them back on their feet. In 2021, they helped arrange permanent housing for about a third of families.

Barkley can empathize with Henry Street’s mission more than others because he was once homeless himself.

“I’ve had hardships. I’ve had adversity,” he said.

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Adams joined Barkley in handing out gifts, hoping it would give them hope in addition to joy.

“Many of our young people believe that when they hit these obstacles, it’s the end of the road. It’s not like that,” Adams said. “It’s just a bend in the road.”

If the families of Henry Street need proof that their road has a way forward, all they have to do is look at the Giant in front of them.

“He made a turn, they can make a turn,” Adams said.

But the children present were not looking at the road ahead. Instead, they were focused on the prize right in front of them.

Choul Wade, one of the young recipients, said, “I feel like I’m happy because I’ve never been here. It’s my first time and I get two toys!”

For her mom, Kayla Wade, it meant even more.

“It’s a blessing because you know you’re in our situation, expecting not to be able to provide the way you want, and people coming and giving, it’s really good,” she said.

The only thing that brought more hope than the toys themselves was the message Barkley shared.

“You can do whatever you want. I sincerely believe that. Whatever you want to achieve. You want to be an NFL player, if you want to be a doctor, if you want to be the first person to land on Mars,” he said. I really feel that anything is possible if you have the right mindset, surround yourself with the right people.”

To find out how you can get involved and support the missing from the Henry Street settlement visit their website.


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