Merch Madness: Hundreds of underserved youth meet sport and music celebrities at surprise giveaway in Harlem

Donovan Mitchell, A$AP Ferg and Eli Manning posed for photos.
Photo by Dean Moses

Hundreds of students were treated to a special surprise giveaway in Harlem on Tuesday, where they got to meet celebrities in the sports and music industries who were handing out swag.

June 27 marked the inaugural Merch Madness, a fan giveaway event that took place in five states as part of Fanatics’ Global Volunteer Day. Fanatics, a sports clothing outlet, said it would be giving away 300,000 pieces of licensed clothing worth about $20 million to more than 100,000 underserved youth.

A young boy is overwhelmed with excitement. Photo by Dean Moses
Donovan Mitchell poses for a photo. Photo by Dean Moses
Lil Baby signs a shirt.Photo by Dean Moses

The Harlem event was held at Frederick Douglass Academy where the youngsters were surprised to meet the likes of football superstar Eli Manning, hip-hop artist Lil Baby, rapper, Meek Mill, and more. The children erupted in uncontrolled excitement when they received the free apparel.

The school’s gymnasium was transformed into a free boutique with caps on racks and bags full of goodies. The elated scholars picked out hats before receiving bags, jerseys, t-shirts, and more. 

The students smiled from ear to ear as they stepped onto their tiptoes in anticipation of meeting their idols. They took selfies with the celebrities and collected autographs.

Eli Manning offers a fist bump.Photo by Dean Moses
A$AP Ferg greets fans.Photo by Dean Moses
Youngers grab free hats. Photo by Dean Moses
Lil Baby.Photo by Dean Moses