ORLANDO - There’s a variety of ways one can describe this year’s Orlando Magic team. They are obviously very young. Only the Oklahoma City Thunder have a younger roster entering the 2022-23 season. They are extremely versatile, too. It’s hard to even designate any of the players to one specific position.
Another thing that they are, overall, is long. Nearly all their frontcourt players are at least 6-foot-10, with a couple of them listed at 7-foot-plus.
That should work in their favor on the defensive end, particularly as it pertains to protecting the rim.
Obviously, the more shots the Magic block, the better. That’s not just true from a basketball perspective, however. By swatting away a lot of shots, the Magic are also making a huge difference on a pressing community issue.
For the third straight season, the Magic and Florida Blue are partnering up for their “Block Out Hunger” program. For every block the Magic record, Florida Blue will donate 10 meals to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.
Last season, the Magic blocked 367 shots, resulting in 3,670 meals being donated. Magic fans also had a chance to donate to the cause at Florida Blue's presenting night this past season by rounding up their retail and concessions purchases at that game.
Another 1,600 meals, meanwhile, were distributed on Saturday, Sept. 17 during the Magic and Florida Blue’s “Block Out Hunger” outdoor festival at Iglesia Generación de Fe, which also featured live music, carnival games, and basketball instruction for kids.
“This is fantastic – two great organizations in town coming together to help meet the needs of our community,” Florida Blue Market President of the Central Region Tony Jenkins said. “When you think about hunger and food challenges, I’m so proud of both of our companies stepping up, and just doing it in a fun environment, fun atmosphere – but the need is serious and we want to make sure that we are living out our missions.”
The stats on hunger are quite staggering. Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief organization in the U.S., reports that in Florida over 2.2 million people, including over 660,000 children, face hunger. The pandemic also had a huge impact on this problem. In 2020, for instance, 14.8 percent of households with children were food insecure, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service.
It's critical for organizations with philanthropic mindsets to team up and give back to their communities. That’s precisely what the Magic and Florida Blue continue to do in Central Florida.
“One of our core pillars and values with the Magic is giving back to the community,” Magic President of Business Operations Charlie Freeman said. “What’s so great is when you have partners like Florida Blue who have those same values, we can work together to do things like this on so many of the needs in our community. And obviously, with hunger being one of the largest, it’s always great (to work together). To have a partner that has those same values is pretty special.”
In December 2021, Florida Blue was named one of the Magic’s seven “Champions of the Community” partners, which represent a unique tier of brands with a shared commitment to the Central Florida community. The Magic and Florida Blue continue their collaboration to positively impact and make a difference in Orlando through a variety of programs, sponsorships and support of initiatives benefiting the underserved community.