BOROUGHWIDE — He may have yet to play a game for Brooklyn due to injury, but the borough’s biggest star athlete is already spreading holiday cheer.
On Dec. 20, Brooklyn Nets all-star Kevin Durant visited the Coalition for the Homeless (CFTH) in Manhattan to provide gifts for 40 children whose families are homeless, 32 of them from CFTH’s Bound for Success program in Brooklyn.
The event was part of the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation (KDCF), whose mission is to enrich the lives of at-risk youth from low income backgrounds through educational, athletic and social programs.
According to Durant’s website, Thirty Five Ventures, KDCF’s parent organization, has distributed over $450,000 since 2015 in grants to address youth homelessness.
The two-time NBA Champion and former MVP made an impact on the local community during his first year with the Brooklyn Nets.
“I definitely just want to inject what we do into the community, especially because I play here and I’m a part of this community now,” Durant said. “I wanted to do as much as we can to help.”
Kids were greeted by dozens of large red bags filled with toys, such as Peppa Pig Magna Doodle board, LEGOs and more.
The Nets added that of the 40 kids, eight of the children were from two families featured in a recent New York Times article that shed light on the everyday lives of homeless families in New York City.
Durant greeted and mingled with the children, taking pictures with each member of the excitable crowd.
“Happy Holidays,” he told the kids. “I’m glad we can provide some cheer for you all today. Thanks for letting me be here.”
Brooklyn’s Bound for Success Program aims to provide students with one-on-one tutoring, sports and recreation every day after school and during the summer. Durant’s group will be providing CFTH with a grant to support the program.
“It gives them an opportunity to leave all their grim reality of homelessness behind and come and just have fun and get some toys, meet Kevin Durant and see that they’re appreciated,” said Dave Giffen, executive director for CFTH.
Giffen explained that getting people to understand the size of the homelessness problem is one of his organization’s greatest challenges. Some 60,000 people in the city are living in shelters, and some 22,000 of those people are children, half under the age of six.
“Having someone of the stature of Kevin Durant come here not only to give these kids such an amazing day, but to help get the word out … is a tremendous help for them,” Giffen said.
Last year, while playing for the Golden State Warriors, Durant and the foundation delivered gifts to young adults at Larkin Street Youth Services’ Geary House in San Francisco and to families at Oakland Elizabeth House.