Amid the coronavirus crisis, many New York-area teams and athletes have stepped up to lend their support to those in need. Not only are people sick, many are hungry or struggling financially after much of our economy has been shut down, resulting in lost paychecks or layoffs. Meanwhile, others are playing the roles of heroes by caring for the ill.
The local sports community has been performing so many good deeds that we don’t dare claim this to be a comprehensive list, but here is a rundown of some of the ways our teams and athletes have been doing their part to help.
Newly retired Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia and his wife, Amber, delivered boxes of groceries to Madison Square Boys & Girls Club in the Bronx on Wednesday. The gesture was part of the Sabathias’ PitCCh In Foundation’s participation in “Operation 5-Borough Food Drive” to assist New York families in need.
“The closure of schools and Boys & Girls Clubs in the Bronx, which so many rely on for their daily meals, has greatly impacted our community,” the Sabathias said in a statement. “By joining forces with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and FreshDirect, we hope to ease the worry of food insecurity for local families and bring essential nutrition to those in need.”
A post shared by CC Sabathia (@cc_sabathia) on Mar 25, 2020 at 1:29pm PDT
ALONSO SAYS THANKS
Mets slugger Pete Alonso has been sending personalized videos to health care workers and first responders to express his gratitude for their work in the face of the pandemic.
Nets star Kyrie Irving has partnered with Feeding America, Lineage Logistics and City Harvest to launch a share-a-meal campaign and distribute 250,000 meals to residents in need across the New York area. Irving has donated $323,000 to Feeding America, and Lineage Logistics has vowed to match up to $200,000 of additional money Irving helps raise. To donate, visit feedingamerica.org/kyrie-covid.
Thank you all for the birthday love, I’m extremely grateful for the support. Seeing the effects of COVID-19 reach our loved ones, our schools, our jobs, and access to food has really impacted me. I am excited to partner with @feedingamerica and @lineagelogistics to launch the Share A Meal campaign to help marginalized communities get the food resources they require during this time, and to work with our local partner @cityharvestnyc to distribute 250k meals to my neighbors in need across the NY area. In addition to that I am donating $323k to Feeding America and @lineagelogistics will match $200k of what we raise together. I am asking my fans, friends, family and partners to join me in helping our communities by donating at the link in my bio. Thank you to everyone on the front line working to keep all of us safe, healthy, and fed. Together we can change the world one small gesture at a time.
A post shared by Kyrie Eleison (KAI) (@kyrieirving) on Mar 23, 2020 at 11:15am PDT
KNICKS WITH THE ASSIST
Knicks players Julius Randle and Bobby Portis have also partnered with City Harvest and are donating $180,000 to help feed 370,000 New Yorkers.
Also, Dennis Smith Jr. is purchasing food vouchers for 575 first responders in Fayetteville, North Carolina, his hometown. And with schools closed and students forced to learn remotely, the point guard is buying 32 computers for local students who need them.
The Jets and their owners, the Johnson family, have made a $1 million donation to United Way agencies in New York City, Long Island and northern New Jersey that are helping to deal with COVID-19 outbreak.
“The United Way continues to improve lives around the world and we need community-based organizations more than ever at this moment,” Jets CEO Christopher Johnson said in a statement. “Everyone has been impacted by this invisible enemy and the United Way is meeting it head-on at home, helping those disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and the economic consequences of the outbreak.”
DEVILS OR SAINTS?
Scott O'Neil, CEO of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, the group that owns the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia 76ers, said in a statement this week the company is “committed to playing an ongoing role in funding efforts to help the most impacted residents in our home cities. The teams plan to announce in the coming days that they are entering partnerships in Newark; Camden, New Jersey; and Philadelphia “to assist our neighbors with food and resource distribution during this public health crisis."
BIG-TIME SUPPORT FOR MINOR LEAGUERS
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced earlier this month that each of the 30 teams, including the Yankees and Mets, has committed $1 million to help the thousands of ballpark employees affected by the delayed start to the regular season.
Barclays Center is paying arena staff for the paychecks they would have earned while working Nets and non-Nets events through the end of May. The Devils are also paying hourly and event workers for canceled games and events at the Prudential Center.