Help is on the Way! The Vaccine is Coming! The Vaccine is Coming!
Photo on left by Gittings
Cover photo by Getty Images
You think this COVID19 virus is playing out? Think again! As Houstonians wait for the announced vaccines, we find ourselves in the throes of a heightened Coronavirus outbreak; but, take heart … the vaccine is coming; the vaccine is coming! In the meantime, don’t let down or up. Stay safe and keep others safe. Don’t forget everything we’ve learned – social distance, wear a mask, wash your hands. Are we tired of hearing this? You bet, but let’s shift our thoughts to all the positive things that others are doing in our city. For instance, throughout this year, our major sports teams have supported the community in a myriad of amazing ways. I am barely scratching the surface of service by these great organizations as I cite the following few examples.
Houston Astros Foundation
HOUSTON ASTROS FOUNDATION is busy with volunteer efforts and weekly food/mask distributions. Partnering with the Houston Food Bank, they host food distributions every Tuesday and Thursday at the Astros Youth Academy, a fine use of the facility. The facility is located in the Acres Homes Community. Included in the distribution is information regarding resources for victims of domestic violence, voter registration cards, masks and census information. The Astros Foundation has offered “At-Home Technology” support for those parents in need…which seems to be many. Volunteers have been in full force at the Houston Food Bank, Kid’s Meals, Medical Bridges and of course the Youth Academy supporting its distribution efforts. The Astros Foundation has donated over $500,000 to The Texas Medical Center in support as well as supporting our Houston Police Foundation to provide much needed helmets and face shields. Astros star Carlos Correa with his Correa Family Foundation donated $500,000 for medical assistance. Alex Bregman donated 4,000 quarantine food kits for students. Lance McCullers has donated 10,000 meals. George Springer donated $100,000 to Minute Maid Park employees.
Houston Rockets owner, Tilman J. Fertitta, immediately announced a plan to provide financial aid to part-time workers at Toyota Center to help offset the loss of hours from events cancelled. He and the Fertitta Family created The Fertitta Entertainment Employee Relief Fund with $1 million available to all Landry’s employees impacted by the crisis to apply for assistance. Rockets forward P. J. Tucker partnered with local organizations to release a limited edition “COVID-129” clothing capsule in support of relief efforts and all proceeds benefited Houston Food Bank. Rockets forward Danuel House, Jr. donated $20,000 to the Houston Food Bank to provide 60,000 meals. Rockets guard Russell Westbrook and his Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation collaborated with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Office of Education and Comp-U-Dopt to provide local children and families with computers needed to access classwork and digital learning resources online. Russell helped launch #Operation42 to donate 4.2 million masks and other personal protective equipment to medical workers in African-American communities hit the hardest. Rockets guard James Harden and his 3 The Harden Way foundation formed a partnership with Kroger to provide groceries to a total of 5,000 families in need. The Rockets provided “taco lunches” on many occasions for many different organizations/groups to show support throughout the pandemic. The Rockets launched their Rockets Give Back Auction presented by AT&T Sportsnet where unique items and collections of memorabilia were available to bidders on Rockets.com with proceeds benefiting the team’s Clutch City Foundation in support of COVID-19 relief efforts. It raised nearly $100,000. In September, the Rockets and Second Servings of Houston conducted a drive-thru food distribution event at Toyota Center for Houstonians in need. The event was open to the public and provided 3,500 family-size chef prepared meals. In October, The Rockets partnered again with Second Servings for another drive-thru food distribution event at Toyota Center where 2,500 family-sized dinner boxes were donated.
Houston Texans Foundation and Houston Texans
Janice McNair and family donated $250,000 to Houston Food Bank and $250,000 to Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston Meals on Wheels. Houston Texans Foundation donated $50,000 to Chris Shepherd’s foundation, Southern Smoke, to support Houston area restaurants and service industry workers impacted by COVID-19. Houston Texans Foundation donated $100,000 to the Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund, a fund established by the United Way of Greater Houston and the Greater Houston Community Foundation. Houston Texans Foundation partnered with Reliant, BHP, Amegy Bank of Texas and Coca-Cola Company to donate $100,000 to Draft-A-Thon benefitting the Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund. Houston Texans Foundation donated $50,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston. Houston Texans Foundation donated $50,000 to YMCAs of Greater Houston Texas. J.J. Watt donated $350,000 to the Houston Food Bank, which will provide over 1 million meals to those in need. Also, for each pair of their newly designed women’s tennis shoe that is sold, he and his wife Kealia are donating one pair to The Mission of Yahweh, a homeless shelter for women and children. Laremy Tunsil donated $250,000 to COVID-19 relief efforts including the Star of Hope in Houston and the Florida Gateway Food Bank. Deshaun Watson donated over 100 meals for Gainesville city police and fire departments, emergency room staffers at a local hospital and the sheriff’s department. Through the Deshaun Watson Foundation, he is providing hundreds of meals for hospitality workers in Houston through the Restaurant Workers Relief program. He also had meals delivered to nurses and staff at Ben Taub Hospital. Justin Reid donated $6,500 to Kid’s Meals Houston and packed snack bags for the children in the Houston community. Whitney Mercilus bought enough goods for several months for Smartie Pants Academy from Costco. He also took care of their detailed cleaning service of the school for several months. He also partnered with Houston Pizza Venture to surprise 630 Texas Children’s Hospital employees with dinner at all three campuses. Special Teams Coordinator Brad Seely donated $4,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston.
Food donations from all the teams to first responders and medical personnel are too numerous to mention but are multitudinous.
AND WHAT CAN YOU DO? Figure out how to help somebody. Can you cook? Cook something! Can you shop for someone? Run errands? Call someone? Do something for somebody today! And, by all means, stay safe during this holiday season. Stay vigilant. Persist! Social distance! Wear a mask! Wash your hands! Blah, blah! It sounds redundant, but this pandemic is very real. Remind yourself of the statistics, and you’ll remember how real this bad boy is. And, the good news is that HELP IS ON THE WAY! THE VACCINE IS COMING, THE VACCINE IS COMING!