Lend­ing a hand at hol­i­days

Orlando Sentinel - - SPORTS TUESDAY - By Luis Tor­res

Sada Bre­land wiped away tears while she stood at cen­ter court dur­ing half­time of the Or­lando Magic’s game against the Chicago Bulls on Mon­day night.

She was sur­rounded by fam­ily mem­bers and her chil­dren — Mon­trell Hartwell (10), Michelle Hartwell (9), Cedric Hartwell (8) and Chy’Mere Hartwell (7) — as they were sur­prised with gifts val­ued at hun­dreds of dol­lars.

Bre­land hugged former Magic player Bo Out­law and Magic pres­i­dent of busi­ness oper­a­tions Char­lie Freeman as each gift was re­vealed. The Bre­land have been through many strug­gles.

Shortly af­ter mov­ing to Cen­tral Florida years ago, Bre­land lost her child to SIDS (sud­den in­fant death syn­drome).

In 2017, Hur­ri­cane Irma de­stroyed the fam­ily’s mo­bile home. She didn’t have any in­sur­ance. Bre­land and her fam­ily bounced from ef­fi­ciency ho­tel to ef­fi­ciency ho­tel. She worked as an Uber driver to try to make ends meet.

Life started to change for her in Fe­bru­ary.

Her fam­ily joined the Coali­tion for the Home­less of Cen­tral Florida. In July, Bre­land en­tered the Rapid Re­hous­ing Pro­gram and she moved into a new home in Au­gust.

And on Mon­day, Bre­land and her four healthy chil­dren were sur­prised by the Or­lando Magic dur­ing the fran­chise’s an­nual pro­mo­tion called “The Big Give.”

The Magic were joined by Dis­ney, Corkcicle, Pepsi, Papa John’s, Hil­ton and Olive Gar­den, show­er­ing the Bre­land fam­ily with gifts.

Corkcicle pro­vided a $500 gift card, Pepsi pro­vided free Aqua­fina for a en­tire year, Papa John’s gave the fam­ily free pizza, Hil­ton pre­sented the fam­ily a two-night stay at any do­mes­tic Hil­ton prop­erty, Olive Gar­den pro­vided a $100 gift card and Dis­ney gave them “Park Hop­per” passes.

Bre­land started a new job at KFC and was re­cently pro­moted to shift man­ager. She would like to even­tu­ally go back to school to be­come a CNA or a home health aide.

“We have a home again. When we fell down, we were able to get back up — and that’s a huge achieve­ment,” she said in a state­ment.

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