ORLANDO - Following in the charitable footsteps of Orlando Magic ownership and teammates Nikola Vucevic, Jonathan Isaac, Mo Bamba and others, forward Aaron Gordon is doing what he can to try and help make life easier for those in need during this time of tremendous crisis.
Gordon, a co-winner of the 2019 Rich and Helen DeVos Community Enrichment award, recently made a financial contribution to the Homeless Education Fund at the Foundation for Orange County (Florida) Public Schools in hopes of helping children adversely affected by school districts cancelling classes in wake of the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe. Gordon is hopeful that others will also log onto FoundationForOCPS.org and also contribute so that children in the Central Florida area don’t suffer during the coronavirus pandemic.
With schools being closed, many children in the Orlando area are missing out on the free or reduced breakfast and lunch meals that they usually count on daily. Gordon, who is quite familiar with that issue because of his years of work in that particular area, is hoping that he can make life a bit easier for homeless families and children in this time of crisis.
``The coronavirus is turning everyone’s world upside-down. Schools are closed and kids are missing meals and classes,’’ Gordon said in a video he recorded earlier this week. ``Orange County public-school staff members are providing grab-and-go meals at 50 school sites for kids across the country. Teachers are providing long-distance learnings for all students to stay on track. That’s because our community’s kids are our most precious resource.’’
Gordon is the latest member of the Magic to step up to help those in need after the franchise’s season was suspended in hopes of curbing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The DeVos family, owners of the Magic for nearly 29 years, backed a $2 million fund that will pay hourly employees of the Magic, Lakeland Magic, Orlando Solar Bears and the Amway Center who would have otherwise been missing out on income with the various sports’ seasons being suspended.
Vucevic and Bamba were among the first Magic players to pledge assistance in the payment of the workers during the suspension of the Magic season. Isaac, who shared the DeVos Community Enrichment award with Gordon in 2019, has worked with J.U.M.P. Ministries and Project Life, Inc. to provide breakfast and lunch meals five days a week to school-aged children in the Orlando area. Isaac has also been instrumental in assisting the groups as they deliver meals to those without transportation and living in extended-stay hotels in the Orlando area.
Gordon, who is in his sixth season with the Magic, has been active in the Orlando community for years while trying to help those in need. The 24-year-old Gordon is well aware of the problems that exist in the Central Florida area with poverty and homelessness and he is trying to do what he can to help those whose lives have been severely impacted by the effects that the coronavirus has had on communities.
``Here in Orange County, (Orlando) Florida, more than 150,000 students qualify to reduce free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch at school. About 7,000 public-school students are homeless,’’ Gordon said in the video he recorded.
``Poverty and crisis can mask a child’s potential, but they can’t determine it. And a zip code, definitely doesn’t determine what kid is capable of becoming,’’ he added later. ``Potential is universal; opportunity, not so much. That’s where we come in. Now, is a great time to wrap our arms around our kids’ communities. I’ve just made a contribution to the Homeless Education Fund at the Foundation for OCPS and I invite you to join me. It’s easy, just go to www.foundationforOCPS.organd make a gift to invest in our kids’ futures.’’
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