Retired Spurs superstar challenges San Antonio to help him fight hunger
Retired Spurs superstar Tim Duncan announced Tuesday that he would donate up to $500,000 of his own money in a special matching challenge to help feed hungry San Antonio families during the holidays.
For every $1 donated to the San Antonio Food Bank during the holiday season, Duncan will put in $2 until the half-million-dollar mark is reached. The challenge essentially triples any donation — those who give $50, for example, will see their donation increased to $150, courtesy of the Big Fundamental.
Duncan said seeing the food bank and other charities in action during hurricane relief efforts in the United States Virgin Islands, from whence he hails, helped him see “the other side.”
“It gave me a different perspective and helped me understand how good it feels to help people,” he said at a news conference at the food bank, surrounded by towering shelves lined with boxes of food. “This is a super-easy way for San Antonians to get involved.”
There’s something in it for those who donate during the special giving program, said Eric Cooper, CEO of the nonprofit organization.
Those who donate $21 or more will receive a one-of-a kind holiday card “from #21 himself.” The first 10 donors who contribute $2,100 or more will receive a 2014 NBA Spurs Championship hat, signed by Duncan.
“We want to make sure no one goes hungry this season,” Cooper said. “For so many clients that we serve, the holidays mean hardship and stress.”
Duncan, flanked by Cooper and Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich, said that in the past Popovich has brought his team to the food bank warehouse to volunteer, events where players soon got into competitive battles to see who could load boxes the fastest. Duncan and his team at BlackJack Speed Shop, his automobile customization business, also volunteered recently at the warehouse, distributing emergency food to local families in need.
For his part, Popovich joked that he only showed up at the news conference to “try and sign Timmy again” before he turned serious.
“We all know about how great Tim was on the court, but he is a stalwart off the court as well,” helping the community, “although many don’t know that about him because he’s so silent and selfless in everything he does,” he said.
Popovich said it was “frustrating” that the problem of hunger in San Antonio continues to grow, even with the work of the food bank and generous community benefactors like H-E-B Grocery.
“Hopefully, people will respond to (Duncan’s matching challenge), because the city really needs it,” he said. “The magnitude of the need boggles the mind.” He said it’s incumbent upon those with material resources — such as his players — to help those who are less fortunate.
“Giving makes us more whole as people,” he said.
Duncan, dressed down for the occasion in a hoody and sweats, said it was “humbling…to have the opportunity to make San Antonio a better place for everyone.”
The San Antonio Food Bank provides millions of pounds of food each year to more than 500 charitable organizations in South Texas. In addition to food distribution, it provides numerous programs that address the immediate problems of hunger, as well as helping individuals and families gain long-term food security.
To donate in the matching challenge, visit www.safoodbank.org.