GooD-Will — Jazz star Williams' foundation helps out single moms
Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — If the gloomy fog that darkened the chilled Wasatch Front air Sunday afternoon was frightful, then the holiday atmosphere inside of Fleming's Prime Steakhouse could aptly be described as delightful.
Making the most of a rare day off for the Utah Jazz, Deron Williams and his wife, Amy, hosted the annual charity Christmas Dinner sponsored by the star point guard's Point of Hope Foundation.
This year, Santa D-Will and his helpful elves provided 20 low-income single moms and their 40 children a combination of season's greetings and gifts, a jolly jolt of joy and a diversion from the inversion.
"I love Christmas time," Williams said. "(It's) a time of sharing and giving."
Sixty people Sunday were grateful the All-Star point guard is as good at sharing and giving off the court as he is on it.
Williams was equally excited to spread holiday cheer to the special guests at his party who were selected by Seven Still Waters, a Utah-based nonprofit group that helps single parents and children.
After all, their life situations are quite familiar to him.
Williams was raised in Dallas by his mother, Denise Smith. Without his father around, Williams' mom had to work extra hard to provide for the future NBA standout and his younger brother, Kendall Jones.
"It's a great cause, something that's close to me because my mom was a single mom," Williams said. "And I knew how difficult it was around Christmastime for her to provide for me and my little brother and still help us have a good Christmas. That's what this is about."
Williams raises money for this event — and an annual Thanksgiving dinner — through his foundation's golf and dodgeball tournaments. Since 2007, the Christmas party has benefited 220 people, including single-parent families and wounded U.S. military veterans.
Amy enjoys how her husband's NBA career has allowed them to reach out and help others.
"This is far more rewarding than just playing basketball," she said. "The best part of being who he is, is the impact and difference he can make."
Mindee Elmore's family will happily tell you how much getting a spirit-of-the-season assist from Williams benefited them.
Elmore has raised her 12-year-old son, C.J., and 9-year-old daughter, Jaylene, for most of their lives on her own. The last year has been particularly rough on the North Ogden single parent. Both her mom and her ex-husband's mother passed away, leaving her children without that additional love and support from their grandmas and making her feel like the weight of the world was pressing down harder on her shoulders.
Elmore is grateful for emotional, financial and Christmas goodwill she's received in recent months from Seven Still Waters and the Williams family.
"It's definitely tough. It's a hard job being a single mother, but for somebody to come along and help at Christmastime, it's beyond words of expression," Elmore said. "It's really touching, and we really needed help this year. It's a wonderful, wonderful feeling, and that's what the season of Christmas is all about — (being) Christ-like and to be giving and caring, and he's definitely followed through on that."
And what does it mean to her children?
"Toys," Elmore said, laughing.
It's not in his job description, nor a requirement of being an NBA player or star. But, like his wife, Williams gets great personal satisfaction in helping people with various disabilities, diseases or special needs.
"It's something I love to do. I love to give back to the community," Williams said. "These fans are always so supportive. Half of these kids are big fans of mine and fans of the Jazz, so it was good to give them a good Christmas and see the smile on their faces."
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