Paul Spreads Holiday Cheer Before Receiving Achievement Award
LOS ANGELES – For many players, this week marks a portion of the Clippers’ calendar they can finally get some rest with a couple days off.
For Chris Paul, it’s more time to give back.
Paul, a day before being honored Friday by Brotherhood Crusade with the 2016 Pioneer of African American Achievement Award, spent his time reaching out to kids in the community.
Paul and his foundation teamed with Feed the Children and LA’s Best to spread holiday cheer at The Grove, reading holiday stories to the 25 kids in attendance from Baldwin Hills Elementary, who were treated to holiday food and entertainment and also got a visit from Santa.
“We’re always talking about doing more, doing more,” Paul said. “Even when you’re thinking about days in between games, you think rest; but these are the things that enable you to have longevity…Basketball is a platform to actually try to get these kids to listen to you so that they understand your story. This is a lot more important than jump shots and free throws.”
That’s something both Feed the Children and LA’s Best understand. Feed the Children has nearly 40 years of experience providing hunger relief to those in need, while LA’s Best After School Enrichment Program serves more than 25,000 students at 193 elementary schools in the Los Angeles area with quality, safe programs between 3 and 6 p.m. every day.
“Baldwin Hills LA’s Best, like all the other 192 schools in the program, is around 90 percent free/reduced lunch eligibility, so the kids that we’re here with today, that Chris Paul’s working with today, wouldn’t necessarily get to have an experience like this otherwise,” said LA’s Best president/CEO Eric Gurna.
The relationship between Paul and LA’s Best go back to when Paul first became a Clipper. In that time, Gurna said he’s seen how compassionate the Paul family is and how much Paul cares about the children involved in the program.
“It’s not about the publicity – it’s not about just giving money – it’s about really interacting with the kids,” Gurna said. “Chris does an event every year for us with Kevin Hart where he takes the kids shopping, and it’s a whole shopping spree, and it’s so much fun to see Chris and Kevin interact with the kids.”
Paul said the kids are amazing, and he enjoys getting to now see familiar faces at his foundation’s different events.
It’s particularly fun at Christmas time, which remains Paul’s favorite holiday. He said this time of year more than anything is about family; the work his foundation is doing is helping many.
“I think we all know what it’s like to be hungry, but we don’t know hunger,” said Suzanne Hogan, vice president of strategic partnerships for Feed the Children. “We don’t know profound hunger, what it’s like to not know where your next meal is coming from. In the holiday time, when you see everyone with an abundance of so much, to have so little, when someone (gives) a backpack, or food or essentials and your table looks more like the table you wish it were to look… that means everything, to know that someone did this for you.”