We know it’s not Christmas, but the old saying applies now: Shaq is the gift that just keeps on giving. Yet more evidence of that was on display this week in Atlanta.
Just last week, he made headlines after buying an engagement ring for a stranger while passing by an Atlanta jewelry store. If you missed the story, you can find it on ShaqFu Radio by clicking here.
This time, Shaq is helping one of his favorite Atlanta-area restaurants. He’s started his own charitable “Employee Relief Fund,” and he’s backed it up with a personal donation of $35,000.
In an interview with The Bleacher Report podcast, Shaq said the money would be going to Restaurant 10, an upscale Southern and BBQ foodery. It’s all part of his Shaq Gives Back program and series that he’s talked about previously on Bleacher Report.
The “Gives Back” program is going to be a video series, put together with one of his big corporate partners – The General Insurance Company. It’ll follow O’Neal as he donates to and helps out Atlanta-area businesses hard-hit by current economic conditions during the coronavirus pandemic. In the first episode, O’Neal visits the restaurant, helps the kitchen staff with their cooking duties and makes his generous donation.
Restaurant head chef and Lorri Clay tells the big man: “I think this is one of the best things you guys could have ever given us, ‘cause nobody’s had really much time off and we greatly appreciate it.”
Clay also revealed Shaq is a frequent diner at the restaurant, and is especially partial to two of its menu items. “Shaquille O’Neal loves our fried chicken and our collard greens,” she said.
“He’s the one who inspired us to change our menu because he came in and he says, ‘I want some fried chicken’ and we were like, ‘OK’ and now it’s a part of our 2021 menu.”
This is just the start for O’Neal. In upcoming series episodes, he’ll be making donations to a local record store and a non-profit meal delivery service.
Shaq says he did some ““extensive research” to find businesses in need. “We wanted to focus on a couple places that are city renowned, that everybody knew and everybody loved,” he said.
“The pandemic has led to devastating effects across the U.S. We just wanted them to know we were there for them, and we want to show the world what we do and how we give back to the community.”
Like we said… the gift that keeps on giving!