CLIPPERS HELP FEED THE COMMUNITY
The Los Angeles Clippers Foundation partnered with 1-800LoanMart and Feed The Children Saturday to host “Feed the Community,” an event that provided food for 1,200 South Los Angeles families in need at the Salvation Army Seimon Family Youth and Community Center. The event was part of the Clippers NBA Cares Week of Service.
Clippers players Jamal Crawford, Blake Griffin, Grant Hill and Ryan Hollins, along with the team’s coaching staff, additional Clippers staff, season ticket holders and employees from 1-800LoanMart, carried and distributed boxes of food and personal care items to families.
Food boxes contained 25 pounds of non-perishable food to feed a family of four for one week. Additional boxes contained personal care items and daily essentials. As part of the Clippers “Read to Achieve” initiative, books for children were available as well.
Mortimer Jones, the Executive Director of the Salvation Army Seimon Family Youth and Community Center, was grateful that there were more volunteers than the event has ever had in the past.
“This is my favorite event mainly because the Clippers organization really means good by doing this,” Seimon said. “This isn’t done for any other hidden agendas. The Clippers really want to be here.
“Our phones started to ring in the summer time to register for this event, so that gives you an idea of how important the Clippers are to this community.”
The Center was founded in 2003, assisting one of the most troubled neighborhoods in Southern California. It offers a wide range of services, including three programs: Family Services, Child Care, and Youth Adult and Senior Programs. They are celebrating the Salvation Army’s 125 years of service this year.
Clippers center and L.A. native Ryan Hollins, who is active in the community with his annual basketball skills camp for youth, felt fortunate to assist in the event.
“This is what it’s all about,” he said. “There’s such a big struggle in low-income areas like this where some children go to bed at night hungry. Some of us don’t know what that feels like, so it’s amazing that these organizations came together to do this.”
Chairman of the Board of 1-800LoanMart Ron Gonen said he was proud his organization could contribute.
“LoanMart loves to give back and do as much as we can,” he said. “It’s incredible for the South Los Angeles community to see that there’s people who want to help, people who want to be good to people.”
Though the event started around noon, some families arrived early because of the sheer number attending.
Beatris Delgado, mother of five girls between the ages of three to 12, waited since 5 a.m. to be one of the first recipients. By the time the afternoon set in, other families were lined up around the block surrounding the Salvation Army Center.
“I have my kids at home,” Delgado said. “This means a lot to us. It really helps more than I can say. My kids were also excited because it was the Clippers.”
Francesca White, another woman with a family at home, felt the Clippers players’ presence was genuine.
“We appreciate that out of all the things the Clippers players could be doing, they lent a hand to help us,” she said. “I know they’re busy people. They aren’t average. But it means a lot that they acknowledge people in lower community areas and want to help.”