As you gather around your family today and give thanks for all that you have, including being a fan of the best basketball team in the state of Florida, take a second and remember all of those that are not as fortunate. The Magic organization, spearheaded and funded by Stan Van Gundy, held a Thanksgiving breakfast Thursday morning that fed over 600 homeless men, women and children. This is the 18th consecutive year that the Orlando Magic have organized a Thanksgiving event to give back to the Central Florida community. As for Stan, this is the 4th year that he has purchased the meals for the event but typically the Magic are playing on Thanksgiving so this was the first year that he was able to actually attend the event.
Dwight Howard and J.J. Redick also held events earlier this week where they distributed Thanksgiving meals to needy Central Floridians. Both events were held on Tuesday with Dwight’s being held at the JR Smith Center and J.J.’s being at the Rosemont Community Center. Collectively, Orlando Magic players Dwight Howard, J.J. Redick, Jameer Nelson, Orlando Magic President Alex Martins, Magic Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw and staff fed approximately 2,200 Central Florida children and families through the week.
The Magic have a lot to be grateful for this year with the new Amway Center opening and with the elite team that it puts on the floor every night, but they, as well as all of Central Florida, should be ever thankful for the kind hearts that lead the organization. Check out some of the photos from this morning’s event as well as .
- Orlando Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy serves breakfast to the residents at the Coalition for the Homeless. Van Gundy has provided the breakfast for the last four years at the team’s annual tradition at the Coalition. The Orlando Magic is committed to the fight against homelessness. In early October, at the Amway Center Grand Opening Gala, $300,000 was raised for the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness (CFCH). The CFCH is a public/private partnership of community leaders to implement Ten2End, which is a ten year plan to end homelessness in Central Florida in the next decade. The mission of the CFCH is to continually assess and address the economic and social impact of homelessness on communities within Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties and the City of Orlando in the furtherance of its goal to end homelessness in the region within ten years.
- Orlando Magic co-captain Jameer Nelson meets some residents at the Coalition and was on-hand to serve breakfast.
- Pictured left to right: Orlando Magic President Alex Martins, Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida’s CEO/President Brent Trotter and Magic CEO/Vice Chair Bob Vander Weide prepare plates of food for the Coalition residents at the team’s annual Thanksgiving breakfast.
All photos taken by Gary Bassing.
On Tuesday, November 23, Orlando Magic All-Star Dwight Howard distributed complete Thanksgiving meals to families at the Dr. James R. Smith Center. Howard has a long history of commitment & philanthropy to those in Central Florida and around the world. As he does each holiday season, Howard looks to assist the underserved in the Orlando area, and hopes to inspire others in the community to do their part as well. Howard was named the 2009-2010 winner of the Rich & Helen DeVos Community Enrichment Award. This marks the fourth time and the third consecutive year he has won the award for his off the court efforts. The Dr. James R Smith Neighborhood Center has provided a place for kids in the community since 1983. The center hosts an afterschool program as well as basketball games, town meetings, luncheons, etc. Photo taken by Fernando Medina.
Orlando Magic’s J.J. Redick and his wife Chelsea distributed turkeys and all the trimmings to local residents at the Rosemont Community Center on Tuesday, November 23. Redick works on a variety of community projects and last year spread holiday cheer to youth through a gift card distribution and visit to children in the hospital. This year, Redick will distribute gift cards again to youth and take them shopping for the holidays. The Rosemont Community Center opened in October 2005 and offers a variety of adult and youth after school programs. The center also houses a computer lab, arts and crafts room, game room, and teen room. Photo taken by Gary Bassing.
Thanksgiving breakfast event details: This annual tradition included an open breakfast for Coalition residents and any members of the community who didn’t have the means to celebrate Thanksgiving. Panera Bread provided hot chocolate, coffee and cookies. The Magic also hosted a special carnival for children, immediately following breakfast, at the Coalition’s main campus. Festivities included guest appearances by STUFF the Magic Mascot and the Magic Dancers and music by 102JAMZ. Adults and children were treated to haircuts by Paul Mitchell The School.
Brian Serra is the founder of MagicBasketballOnline.com. You can follow/add him on Twitter and on Facebook.