MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It was a night of fun and festivities at Santa’s Enchanted Forest for more than 100 families and children.

The night at the show of lights and activities was hosted by “Big Mama”, a community activist. It was a way to help families experiencing hard times to enjoy the spirit of Christmas.   “Big Mama” is a nickname.  Her real name is Essie Reed and she has a non-profit organization called Team of Life.

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For a few hours Monday night, the children and their families got to spend time together and celebrate the holiday season.

“Big Mama” chose 115 families and their children from all over South Florida including Homestead, Florida City and Broward County.

“She makes things happen. God bless her she helped me and my grandkids which we didn’t have nothing,” said Maria Gonzalez.

Santa’s Enchanted Forest and “Big Mama” arranged everything from the free charter buses that transported families to VIP, holiday style treatment in the forest at Tropical Park in Miami-Dade.

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“The kids wanted to come because they always see it on the news, on the TV, and they wanted to come, but I couldn’t afford to bring them,” said Gonzales

The families invited, are families that have difficulties making ends meet.

“May not have food on their table, may not have the toys, may not have clothes on their back. They’re gonna forget about all that and enjoy themselves,” added “Big Mama”.

Some of the children were removed from their parent’s care.  But, thanks to “Big Mama” they had a special night together.

“And it’s very special because to me because during that time when my kids were small , these ages, I couldn’t , I didn’t have it but the Lord gave me that gift to make sure that any child who come in my life will be loved feel loved and be special,” Big Mama said.

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