Carmelo Anthony Jumpstarts Holiday Cheer for OKC Families

Carmelo Anthony Jumpstarts Holiday Cheer for OKC Families

by Jimmy Do | okcthunder.com

Through the car window, Carmelo Anthony nonchalantly extended his hand to the boy for a handshake. The stunned youngster recoiled in the backseat with awe draping his face.

A special education teacher was jolted by the sight of Anthony as her jaw slacked.

Then there was the widow recounting her husband’s lost battle with cancer before exchanging good wishes.

Another car saw a family frantically waving and shouting “Welcome to Oklahoma City! We love you!” drawing a smile on Anthony’s face as the Brooklyn-born native returned with a wave and a thumbs up.

Between hearty handshakes and souvenir selfies, Anthony spent his Saturday loading trunk after trunk with boxes containing food, supplies, toys and books for local families in need at Feed the Children in Oklahoma City.

The overcast day featured a parade of vehicles outside of the building where Anthony, members of the Carmelo Anthony Foundation and volunteers delivered some early holiday cheer.

“Everywhere I go, I try to touch communities and give back. This is my first opportunity to do that,” said Anthony. “I’m handing out boxes and doing the work that’s needed.”

For Anthony, this was the beginning of things to come for his new Okie neighbors. The goodwill gesture was a chance for Anthony to get to know the people in the community as he launched the first year of his No Hunger Holidays initiative in Oklahoma City.

“To be able to start something new here in Oklahoma City with me being a fresh face, I get a chance to feel the people here so they can understand what I’m trying to do,” said Anthony.

Box after box, Anthony laid the groundwork in his campaign against hunger as he set his sights on helping 10,000 families in Oklahoma—starting with the 800 families on hand.

“When we started doing this nine years ago, our goal was we wanted communities to know we’re here to stay,” said Asani Swann, vice president of brand strategy at Melo Enterprises. “We really have the heart to serve.”

Delivering hope. Saturday in OKC marks the first annual of the Carmelo Anthony Foundation's No Hunger Holidays campaign. Photo by Jimmy Do | OKC Thunder

Making a connection. A widow shared her story with Anthony about her husband's battle with cancer. Photo by Jimmy Do | OKC Thunder

This is why we play. Swann: "We all can have a great deal of impact on our future. It could change the trajectory of that child's life forever. That's the energy we want to spread." Photo by Jimmy Do | OKC Thunder

Fighting hunger. According to Feed the Children, "more than 18 percent of Oklahoma City residents live below the poverty line and do not have resources necessary to provide for their families." Photo by Jimmy Do | OKC Thunder

Eager to be part of OKC. Anthony: "Hunger is a big issue and I wanted to start it here in Oklahoma." Photo by Jimmy Do | OKC Thunder