D.J. Augustin Donates to Organization Delivering Food to Medical Workers

Aaron Gordon makes contribution to My New Red Shoes, his second donation amid coronavirus pandemic
by John Denton

ORLANDO - Their acts of kindness extending from America’s East Coast to the West Coast and various parts in between, teammates Aaron Gordon and D.J. Augustin announced charitable efforts on Thursday that further continue the Orlando Magic’s mission of helping those in need during this time of crisis.

A day after contributing to the Homeless Education Fund at the Foundation for Orange County (Florida) Public Schools, Gordon donated to My New Red Shoes, a non-profit organization that provides well-fitted shoes and clean clothes to children in need in the forward’s hometown of San Jose, Calif.

Hoping to assist those who are bravely helping others in his boyhood home, Augustin donated to Krewe of Red Beans in New Orleans, one of the nation’s hardest-hit cities by the COVID-19 pandemic. Krewe of Red Beans delivers food from local restaurants to frontline medical workers in the New Orleans area.

Augustin lived in New Orleans until his senior year of high school before he and his family were forced to evacuate because of Hurricane Katrina. When his family lost their home and most all of their belongings in New Orleans, Augustin moved to suburban Houston where he finished high school. Back in December, Augustin became the first male or female athlete in the history of New Orleans’ Brother Martin High School to have his jersey number retired by the school.

Augustin, 32, is hopeful that others will also contribute to the Krewe of Red Beans by logging onto RedBeansParade.com. As of Wednesday, the Louisiana Department of Health reported that the state has 1,795 COVID-19 cases and 65 deaths related to the pandemic.

Augustin and Gordon are the latest members of the Magic to step up to help those in need after the NBA season was abruptly 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.

Centers Nikola Vucevic and Mo Bamba were among the first Magic players to pledge assistance in the payment of the workers during the suspension of the Magic season.

Forward Jonathan Isaac, who shared the Rich and Helen 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 extremely active for years in trying to help those in need in his hometowns of Orlando and San Jose. On Wednesday, Gordon spoke of donating to the Foundation for Orange County Public Schools and urged others to log onto FoundationForOCPS.org so some of the 7,000 homeless students and approximately 150,000 students who depend on free-or-reduced breakfasts and lunches can get ``grab-and-go’’ food while classes are out of session.

``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.’’

Last summer, Gordon made several appearances in the San Jose area to pass out new shoes and talk to young basketball campers about his journey to high school, college and NBA stardom. Also, he made a charitable donation last summer to My New Red Shoes to help the organization provide new shoes to families with tremendous needs.

Like Augustin, Gordon had his high school jersey retired back in January by Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose. A few weeks earlier in late December, the San Jose Mercury-News named Gordon their Athlete of the Decade for his efforts in leading Mitty to two California state titles and a runner-up finish while in high school.

Now, Gordon has acted once again in this time of tremendous crisis to help out those in need near his native Northern California.

``My New Red Shoes is doing an incredible job by helping low-income families with basic needs in a time of crisis by providing new shoes,’’ Gordon said in a video posted this week. ``In this time of uncertainty, this is the status quo for an impoverished family, and they never know what’s going on (with the economy), where their next meal is going to come from or whether they are going to have shoes that don’t have holes in them.

``To date, My New Red Shoes has given out 90,000 pairs of shoes to kids who wouldn’t have been able to afford them otherwise,’’ Gordon added. ``In a time like this, being able to protect your feet and have shoes that are going to carry you to take your next steps onward and forward, it’s a blessing. Just help me help them and help My New Red Shoes by going to MyNewRedShoes.org.’’

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors.

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