NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — LL Cool J came home to Queens for the holidays to spread a little cheer.

“Nothing more important than remembering where you came from. A lot times people forget that,” he told CBS2’s Scott Rapoport.

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The Hollis native, artist and all-around cool guy made a surprise appearance at his hometown church, the Greater Allen Ame Cathedral in Jamaica, for its annual Christmas on Merrick gift giveaway for the needy. Much to the delight of the locals.

“I am so excited,” one fan said.

“I’m just glad I can do this,” LL Cool J said.

LL Cool J was part of the inspiring tradition where Christmas comes early for needy parents and their children living in poverty. The church passed out food, clothing and presents for those who otherwise might not have a proper Christmas.

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“At the present moment, I’m not working. So we are thankful to receive these gifts,” one woman said.

Some 675 families and their 1,700 children each received individual toy bags stuffed with gifts, and their appreciation was immeasurable.

For his part, the church said LL Cool J donated 100 toy basketballs and footballs of all sizes for the kids, and perhaps most importantly to the community where he himself grew up, he donated his time, hugs, selfies and a piece of his heart.

“If my power and my influence and my ability to say a kind word can go a little further to inspire a couple of kids to do something good, you know, each one, teach one,” he said.

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He said he routinely gives to the church and the community, but that it isn’t about the amount he gives or what he gives. At the end of the day, it’s about remembering where you come from.