Wes Iwundu Latest Magic Player to Assist

Magic forward will help with teammate Jonathan Isaac's effort to feed children
by John Denton
ORLANDO - As is so often is the case on the basketball court, Orlando Magic teammates are supporting one another, and they continue to have each other’s backs in inspiring ways.

Wanting to do whatever he can to support teammate Jonathan Isaac and his mission to feed those in need in Central Florida, Magic forward Wes Iwundu recently made a financial donation to the ``COVID-19: Ready, Set, Feed’’ cause. Also, Isaac said various Magic teammates have assisted him while he’s worked for J.U.M.P. Ministries and Project Life, Inc. to provide ``grab-and-go’’

breakfasts and lunches to school-aged children in the Central Florida area over the past week. According to Isaac, Project Life delivered an average of 187 meals a day last week and served another 250—plus meals daily. Isaac said that his group delivered 200 box meals within 30-45 minutes this past Friday, signifying the tremendous need among those who are struggling to fill even the most basic of needs following the downturn of the economy because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

``First week was fully successful,’’ Isaac wrote on Instagram. ``Now, with the stay at home mandate, we are getting calls from the community to deliver food. So this number may increase weekly as time goes … Currently, we are still in need of ongoing supplies (and) donation(s) at this point to be able to meet the needs (such as) containers, meat, drinks, non-perishable (items), bread, etc., in case anyone still wants to help.’’

Isaac was particularly appreciative of the help provided by Iwundu, one of his closest friends on the Magic. The two forwards entered the NBA together following the 2017 NBA Draft, and through the years, they have supported one another along the highs and lows of playing in the NBA.

``I want to shout out my guy, my teammate, my brother Wes Iwundu for donating to the cause – ``COVID-19: Ready, Set, Feed,’’ Isaac said on Instagram. ``It’s amazing and I appreciate you Bro, but more so the kids who are going to get fed and the families that are going to be taken care of appreciate you even more. Shout to (Iwundu) and shout out to everybody who are continuing to push this.’’

The work by Isaac and Iwundu continues what the Magic have done throughout the pandemic that has caused the sports world, and the world as we know it, to dramatically change. Following through on their mission of trying to make differences on and off the court, Magic players and staffers have been especially active in the community in assisting those in need.

The DeVos family, owners of the Magic for nearly 29 years, recently 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.

Magic forward Aaron Gordon, who shared the Rich and Helen DeVos Community Enrichment award with Isaac in 2019, has been extremely active for years in trying to help those in need in his hometowns of Orlando and San Jose. Last week, Gordon donated 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. Gordon also made a financial contribution to My New Red Shoes, a non-profit organization that supplies well-fitted shoes and clean clothes to those in need in Gordon’s hometown of San Jose, Calif.

``The coronavirus is turning everyone’s world upside-down. Schools are closed and kids are missing meals and classes,’’ Gordon said of his charitable work last week in a video post to Twitter. ``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.’’

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.

Similarly, Isaac is hoping that those able and willing can donate to Project Life and J.U.M.P. Ministries so that the groups can continue to serve meals five days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. People interested in assisting the groups to feed those in need can donate at ProjectLifeNow.org. Also, supplies and donations can be dropped off at 2550 West Colonial Drive, Suite 300, Orlando, FL 32804.

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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