NBPA & Its Players Lend A Holiday Helping Hand In Nation’s Capital

December 03, 2009

NBPA members Amir Johnson, Mike James and Jarrett Jack help brighten the holidays for some deserving local Washington D.C. families.

By: Talia Bargil
for NBPA.com

The holiday season kicked off on a high note for 10,000 underprivileged Washington, D.C. families this past December. Receiving food, personal care items, toys, coats, turkeys and more, the families, all of whom were facing tremendous financial hardship, left the DC Armory with smiles on their faces and hope in their hearts.

The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) presented the event, “Miracle In The Nation’s Capital,” in conjunction with the Executive Office of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, Feed The Children and the Washington Sports & Convention Authority.

“It was truly heartwarming to watch as our players’ presence, participation and passion for this tremendous initiative brightened the holiday season for so many,” said Billy Hunter, NBPA Executive Director. “With the support of outstanding partners, the NBPA is proud to have made an enormous impact on an unprecedented number of Washington, D.C. families that needed our assistance.”

Several players from the Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors, as well as NBA veterans Kermit Washington, Phil Chenier and John Duren, spent the afternoon personally distributing the items and expressing their warmest holiday wishes to the families.

And there’s no doubt the need for an initiative of this sort was necessary. According to the Washington Post, a new federal report shows that the nation's economic crisis has catapulted the number of Americans who lack enough food to the highest level since the government has been keeping track of such statistics, which shows that nearly 50 million people – including almost one child in four – struggled last year to get enough to eat.

“An average of 12.4 percent of homes in the Washington, D.C. area had problems getting enough food last year, which is worse than the national average. We are honored to have been able to assist those directly affected by this alarming national hunger crisis,” said Tony Sellars, Feed The Children spokesman.

Mayor Fenty also was in attendance and proud of the efforts taking place in his backyard.

“During the holiday season families, friends and neighbors come together to celebrate with warmth and compassion for one another,” said Mayor Fenty. “In keeping with this tradition, the District of Columbia was thrilled to team up with the NBPA and Feed The Children to distribute thousands of Christmas meals to residents in an effort to ensure everyone an opportunity to have a joyous holiday.”

Hundreds of volunteers assisted as well, as BET’s DJ Big Tigger, official DJ for the Washington Wizards and host of CBS Radio’s Afternoon Drive, kept the mood festive by playing holiday favorites and today’s hits.

From turkeys to vegetables, dolls to books, soaps to makeup, coats and more, each family walked away with several boxes full of necessities and goodies.

The event was part of the NBPA’s nationwide holiday feast relief, wherein numerous NBA players, in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, distributed turkeys to about 15,000 families in NBA cities throughout the country.

It may be a competition out on the basketball court, but when it comes to helping put an end to the hunger crisis, it is clear that everybody is on the same team.