By John DentonNov. 27, 2014
ORLANDO – On the basketball floor, Tobias Harris takes his role as a leader for the Orlando Magic very seriously. Similarly, Harris takes tremendous pride of being looked to as a role model for others when he is away from basketball.
For a second straight holiday season, Harris partnered with the Magic and Amway Corporation to distribute Thanksgiving meals to preselected families from the Rosemont, Parramore and Englewood communities on Tuesday at the Rosemont Community Center.
Harris, who was accompanied by his father, Torrel, joined Magic Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw and the Magic Dancers to provide 450 Thanksgiving meals to underserved families in the Central Florida community.
“I’ve always been a person to give back and I love the community here. To be part of it as a basketball player and a role model and to show the kids the right thing to do, that’s important to me,” Harris said. “To give back during a holiday where it’s all about giving and being thankful – I’ve always been blessed to have a meal on my plate during Thanksgiving – and to spread that feeling to someone else’s family, it’s special. This is something that is truly important to me.”
Harris didn’t return back to Orlando until 1:15 A.M. on Tuesday morning following the Magic’s Monday game in Cleveland. After playing a home game against the Golden State Warriors, Harris is scheduled to leave with the team on Thursday night for a 10-day, six-game road trip. To further complicate matters, Harris is also dealing with a strained calf muscle – an injury that kept him out of the past two games.
Still, Harris said no kind of injury or travel fatigue would keep him taking part in Tuesday night’s event. Harris joined the Magic and Amway Corporation in sponsoring the meals for the families. The meals served on Tuesday included a turkey and all the trimmings - stuffing, turkey gravy, corn, green beans and a dessert. The event also allowed groups to take family photos for a keepsake from the event.
“I think most important thing is seeing the families walk out of here happy and excited,” said a joyful Harris, who is averaging career highs in points (18.8 ppg.), rebounds (8.4 rpg.), assists (1.8 apg) and steals (1.2) this season (as of Nov. 25). “There are a lot of hard-working parents out there for whom it is hard to support their families during Thanksgiving. Coming up here and having a great meal, that’s real special.”
As a Magic Champion of the Community partner, Amway has teamed up with the organization consistently over the years to give back to the local community.
“Amway enjoys every event it partners on with the Magic, but the opportunity to be part of Tobias’ event is one of great importance,” said David Madiol with Amway community relations. “We are honored to be able to help families enjoy their Thanksgiving.”
Throughout its partnership with the Magic, Amway has supported back-to-school supply drives, a KaBOOM! neighborhood playground build and Boys and Girls Club community gardens. Amway's involvement in this event is part of the Amway One by One Campaign for Children, which has bettered the lives of 10 million children over the last 10 years.