(NEW YORK) — He’s the shot blocking, ball dunking player with the New York Knicks.
But this season, Amare Stoudemire is also doubling as a secret Santa.
For the Crowder family, Stoudemire’s surprise knock on their door is just what they needed this Christmas.
When mom Sharell fell ill earlier this year, dad David had to cut back hours as a security guard to be home more with the kids.
“It’s my first time trying to take care of a household, it’s been a real challenge,” David Crowder said.
Making ends meet has been difficult and putting presents under the tree this year for 5-year-old David and 4-year-old Tymir just isn’t possible.
That’s where the Garden of Dreams Foundation comes in.
The foundation pairs up nine Knicks players each with a deserving family to go on an all expense paid shopping spree at Target.
“Amare came in today and showed them that we really do care. And it wasn’t just with the gifts, it was the personal time he spent,” said Michael Roberts, deputy and division director with the Children’s Aid Society.
The experience meant a new start for the Crowder family.
“It means I can get started on a new life,” Sharell said.
The total bill for the Crowder family added up to nearly $5,500 – which was paid for by the Garden of Dreams Foundation and out of Stoudemire’s own pocket.
For Stoudemire, it meant being able to give back to the community that’s close to his upbringing and close to his heart.
“To be part of this is very special,” Stoudemire said.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Tom LoBianco, Deirdre Walsh and Tal Kopan, CNN
Jackie Wattles, CNN
Ray Sanchez, CNN
Julia Horowitz, CNN