Orlando Magic Coaches, Players And Staff Serve Thanksgiving Breakfast At Coalition For The Homeless For 31st Year

Anthony Black and his parents among Thursday’s volunteers; Magic players Markelle Fultz and Wendell Carter Jr. host other Thanksgiving events earlier in week

BY JOSH COHEN, OrlandoMagic.com

ORLANDO – Basketball-wise, Anthony Black is all about doing what’s necessary for the betterment of the team. Right now with the Orlando Magic, the 19-year-old rookie guard is doing all the little things to contribute to winning, which they’ve done a lot lately with them currently riding a five-game winning streak.

That mentality that he has on the court matches the one he has off of it. For him, and this he learned at an early age from his parents, Terry and Jennifer Black, it’s all about doing what one can to support the community.

This mindset is one shared by his Magic teammates, coaches and team staff, which was evident on Thanksgiving morning when he, his parents, head coach Jamahl Mosley, team CEO Alex Martins, President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman, Vice President of Shareholder Engagement Ryan DeVos, and many other Magic volunteers served breakfast to the nearly 500 men, women and children who currently reside at the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and the more than 100 unsheltered individuals from the community, who may be struggling with food insecurity.

“The Orlando Magic obviously means a lot to the city, and being here is impacting everybody that’s here’s life,” Black said. “It just shows how good of a group of people that are with the Magic.”

Black remembers as a kid in Texas his mother taking him to community events just like Thursday’s to help out. Other times, they would go under bridges and feed the homeless and give them clothes.

With the social platform he now has as an NBA player, he’s excited about future philanthropic opportunities. He’s also inspired after learning about all that the Magic do to strengthen this community.

“The people in this organization are super caring, and it’s really family oriented,” he said. “This is just another gesture to prove how connected and how good of an organization we have.”

Black’s Magic teammates and coaches have been out and about in the community lifting the spirits of others themselves this week and using their resources to relieve some of the challenges many face around the holidays. Markelle Fultz and Wendell Carter Jr., for example, participated in two separate Thanksgiving meal distribution events. The Fultz family’s annual “Fultzgiving” event distributing Thanksgiving dinners to local families and Carter Jr. and his parents joined the Magic and partner Florida Blue for the Block Out Hunger event to distribute Thanksgiving meals to the community.

This was the 31st year the Magic have held this Thanksgiving event at the Coalition for the Homeless, which started because of the vision and ambition the late Rich DeVos had for the Central Florida community when he purchased the team in 1991.

“Rich DeVos instilled in us the fact that as an organization we are not just here to win games, but we are here to be champions of our community, to give back to our community, and do whatever we can to build up the Central Florida community,” Martins said. “Whenever we do anything in the community, we think about Rich and Helen DeVos. They really left a legacy in all of us to make sure that we give back to the Central Florida community.”

For returning volunteers of this event, such as Weltman and Mosley, it’s always special for them because they have seen first-hand how it has restored faith in so many of the individuals and families who are in search of stable and permanent housing.

“I’ve been here six-plus years, and the legacy that we are a part of really makes you feel special to come here every year,” Weltman said. “When I see relationships that are built year after year after year, it’s such a welcoming place, and I know that the people that come here they need this feel, they need to know that people care about them. For us to be able to start the day this way, I’m privileged enough to be able to serve them. It’s a special part of our day.”

For the third straight year, Mosley paid for this meal. For him, though, the greatest joy is seeing smiles on the faces and knowing that more and more people continue to be assisted by everything the Magic do in the community.

“The Magic have done such a phenomenal job of being in the community, getting out and being able to share and give back,” he said. “Thirty-one years of this event is fantastic.”

Someone else extremely grateful for everything the Magic do is Allison Krall, president and CEO at Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida. Even though the Magic have been doing this for over three decades, each time they call and say we’re coming, it’s a delight to her ears.

“Thirty-one years of the Magic organization taking time away from their families to be here to serve those who do not have what these players, what this team, what this organization has, and giving back 31 years, it’s amazing,” she said.