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A Slam Dunk of a Service Project: The NBA and Church of Jesus Christ Feed the Hungry

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More than 500 volunteers, including current players, legends, partners, and guests from the National Basketball Association (NBA), gathered at several locations in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Friday, February 17, 2023, to participate in hands-on service projects. These projects are helping to alleviate food insecurity and provide essential items for those in need across Northern and Central Utah. Locations included the Utah Bishops’ Central Storehouse, Utah Food Bank and Volunteers of America. The projects are part of the NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service 2023 activities.

 

The best basketball players in the world are in town for the 2023 NBA All-Star Weekend (February 17–19).

Volunteers sorted and packed food donations to distribute to low-income students and families.

“Those who participated in the service project helped assemble more than 6,700 family food boxes as well as 2,800 hygiene kits,” said Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles who attended the event at the Church’s Utah Bishops’ Central Storehouse.

“This of course harkens from the Lord Jesus Christ who invited his followers to follow the two great commandments to love God and one another. That’s what we have tried to do today,” said Elder Rasband.

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Shawn Marion, retired NBA player, visits with Sister Tracy Browning, second counselor in the Primary general presidency, Ahmad Corbitt, first counselor in the Young Men general presidency, and Elder Evan A. Schmutz, a General Authority Seventy.

“There’s no better way to tip off All Star Weekend than rolling up your sleeves and volunteering to give back to the community that we’re in,” said Todd Jacobson, senior vice president of social responsibility for the NBA. “It’s something we’ve been doing since 2008 and we’re going to continue to do it moving forward.”

“These were always my favorite events to come to during the All-Star Weekends,” said Deron Williams, a former NBA player. “It gives you a chance to give back to the communities that always support us, that support the teams. … This is important to me because it helps other human beings. … We’re definitely blessed and so to be able to help people that are less fortunate.”

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Former NBA player Shawn Marion said, “I’m putting some beef stew into these boxes right now. We’ve got to feed some families. This is pretty awesome, man. I love it.” He continued, “I don’t mind this stuff at all. When you’ve been truly blessed and in a position to give back, why not.”

All-Stars and their families and friends filled hundreds of boxes with food, toothbrushes, shampoo and more inside the 13-acre storehouse owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Each box will feed a family of four for four days. The boxes will be loaded onto several semitrucks and distributed to the Utah Food Bank, Tabitha’s Way Local Food Pantry and Joyce Hansen Hall Food Bank. One truckload will be set aside for natural disaster relief efforts.

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Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Ryan Smith, and Dwyane Wade, owners of the Utah Jazz, stop to take a photograph during the NBA Cares Day of Service in Salt Lake City, Utah, on February 17, 2023.

The Church of Jesus Christ participated in more than 3,900 humanitarian projects in 2021, benefiting those in need in 188 countries. Volunteers contributed an estimated 6.8 million hours.

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