After writing a story about how a casino is possibly trying to pull one over on its customers, how about a nice poker-related story for the holiday season? Professional poker player Bernard Lee, who hosts the Bernard Lee Poker Show on Rounders Radio and is the former co-host of ESPN’s poker news show Inside Deal, hosted an event this past weekend to provide gifts to the members of 40 homeless families.
The event was sponsored by Lee’s Full House Charity Program and held at the Perkins Community Center in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston through a partnership with FamilyAid Boston. FamilyAid provides shelter, housing, and services for homeless families. It does more than just give people shelter for a night (which in itself is great), but also works with families to try to get them into affordable homes and provide them with the support to improve their lives and avoid homelessness forever.
“This is the most challenging time of the year for families experiencing homelessness,” said Annie Gordon, FamilyAid Boston’s director of development and external affairs, in a press release. “Parents worry that they won’t be able to fulfill their children’s holiday wishes and pay the bills at the same time, which puts a strain on the whole family during an already stressful time. Bernard and his family are not only providing parents and children with items that they want and need — they are also giving them joy and peace of mind.”
Perhaps the most interesting thing about this event is that Bernard Lee didn’t just bring a truckload of dolls, basketballs, and stuffed animals for the kids (again, this would have been great). Instead, he had accepted wish lists from the children in advance and brought personalized gifts for everyone. The gifts certainly could have been dolls, basketballs, and stuffed animals, but they ranged widely, depending on what the children really wanted.
“It’s a privilege to link up with a century-old organization like FamilyAid, which has long stood for helping Boston residents and kids,” Lee said. “My program has become a family tradition, especially for my own two children, who are a huge reason for the program’s success. Our goal has always been to bring joy to New England families during the holiday season. More than anything, I love seeing the children smile when they receive the specific gifts they wished for. My family and I always look forward to this event.”
In addition to this event, Lee’s Full House Charity Program distributes funds to charitable organizations around the Boston community year-round. Lee and his daughter also flew to Houston last month to help out four families who were victimized by Hurricane Harvey, giving them gifts that were on their wish list. Lee also sent supplies and gift cards to people in Florida and Puerto Rico to help in their recovery from Hurricane Irma.
On a personal note, Bernard Lee was one of the first poker pros I ever met when I first started in the poker industry, covering the World Series of Poker in 2005. He was extremely generous with his time and was happy to shoot the breeze with me away from the action, making me feel welcome in a hectic environment. I was not at all surprised when I first started hearing about his charitable endeavors several years ago.