Dooling Leads Fight Against Hunger

BOSTON – Millions of Americans go hungry each year as families struggle with the rising cost of food. Wanting to make a difference in their lives, Boston Celtics guard Keyon Dooling teamed with the Gametyme Foundation in order to help provide food and other necessities for families across the nation.

After hosting “Big Assist” food drives in cities like Miami, Orlando and Los Angeles, Dooling, along with teammates Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Marquis Daniels and Chris Wilcox, held two food drives in the Boston area. The drives were held at the Mildred Ave Community Center in Mattapan, Mass., and at the Shelburne Community Center in Roxbury, Mass. The players purchased $20,000 worth of food and products for 400 families.

“We wanted to come give you all our support,” Dooling said as he addressed the families. “We support your community and want to give back. That’s what it means to be a Boston Celtic. Today we are hosting our sixth and seventh event. I’ve been doing this all summer and it’s been very therapeutic for me. The events have been awesome. I’ve seen so much hurt, so much pain and many different things going on in our communities. I just got tired of talking about it and sitting on the sideline so I connected with Jay Johnson who started the Gametyme Foundation. We put a plan together. Our goal is to do this in all the cities of NBA players. We want to connect with all NBA players and host in their hometowns. We come from the trenches and very humble beginnings. I remember the struggles of not having all the time. Now that I have this opportunity, I want to give back.”

Dooling’s passion for the community made a huge impact on this day, as families lined up to receive items they so desperately need. The gratitude and sometimes even tears on their faces made the event well worthwhile. The pressures of wondering where the next meal would come from momentarily disappeared as the Celtics players spent time with the families and filled their grocery bags with items.

“It was great being at the two community centers today,” said Rondo. “We have an obligation to help our Boston community and we were able to give back today. Seeing the smiling faces made it all worth it.”

Garnett added, “Today was a good day. It felt great to be here with my teammates. It’s remarkable what a little bit of your time, effort and heart does for people. It goes a long way. It’s important to give back. You can’t ask other people to give if you’re not willing to do that yourself.”

In addition to providing grocery items to the guests of the event, the players wanted to make sure they reached out to the youth in attendance.

“To my youth, we want to inspire,” said Dooling. “We want to inform. We want to let you know that all your dreams, all your goals, anything that you put your mind to, you can accomplish. I’m living proof. A lot of times I think we lack the confidence to know that we can do because we’ve been beat down so much. We’ve been told what we can’t do and what we’re not capable of. You don’t come from that pedigree so you can’t have that Ivy League education. You can’t find success. I’m here to tell you, look at me. I’m living proof. I think I’ve got the recipe and it’s simple. I was raised by a community. It takes a village to raise a child. I came from an old school community where you knew your neighbors. I don’t see that with our new generation. Somewhere, I think we lost our way and we’ve got to get that back. We’ve got to get the pride back and the sense of community back.

“There is more than one way to be rich. Sometimes we always think about being rich as a monetary blessing and sometimes they do come monetarily. However, I’m rich in community. I’m rich in family. I’m rich in culture. I’m rich in so many different things that even if I don’t have a dollar in my pocket, I’m still filthy rich. So, to my youth, I want you to remember that you can do anything you put your mind to.”

The guests erupted into a loud cheer following Dooling’s impassioned plea to them all. These families weren’t just taking food back home with them, but also a sense of inspiration that people do care and things can turn around for those who are positive.

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