Native Bahamian NBA and WNBA Players to Donate $105,000 to UNICEF for Hurricane Relief
After Hurricane Dorian ravaged the Bahamas earlier this week, native Bahamians and professional basketball players Buddy Hield and Jonquel Jones are stepping up to raise money and donate to aid the country’s disaster relief.
Hield, a guard on the Sacramento Kings, and Jones, a Connecticut Sun forward, played youth basketball together and have remained good friends since both moving to the United States from the Bahamas to pursue their careers, the Associated Press reported.
Both players have set up separate GoFundMe pages in support of the country, chipping in money of their own and calling upon fans to also donate in support.
Jones, the AP reported, hopes to raise $50,000 for the country and kicked off fundraising by donating $10,000 of her own. Her page to date has already generated $32,143 in donations since its creation on Wednesday.
“All of us have been blessed to be in situations where we can give back,” Jones told the AP. “God put me in a situation now where I can reach back and help my communities. If we do nothing, then we’re definitely taking what we’ve been given and what we’ve worked hard for, for granted.”
Hield, who also oversees the Buddy Hield Foundation, aims to raise $1 million for the cause, already donating $100,000 from his own pocket to his foundation and starting an additional GoFundMe campaign, a press release reported.
“My heart is broken for my fellow Bahamians, especially on the island I was raised on, Grand Bahama. I personally know many people who still need rescuing, and there are thousands without medical help, power, food, or other basic necessities. Bahamians are a strong people, but they still need our help to get them through this,” Hield wrote on his page.
On Thursday, the Sacramento Kings Foundation, Buddy Hield Foundation, Ranadivé Foundation, and the Jacobs Family announced they would be collectively donating $105,000 to UNICEF USA to aid those impacted by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, the NBA announced.
Additionally, Miami Heat Managing General Partner Micky Arison and his wife Madeleine, have pledged $1 million in funding for relief efforts, according to the Sun Sentinel.
“We are incredibly grateful for the generous aid provided by the Sacramento Kings Foundation, Buddy Hield Foundation, Ranadivé Foundation, and the Jacobs Family to UNICEF’s disaster relief efforts in the Bahamas,” said UNICEF USA President and CEO Caryl M. Stern in a press release. “Support like this is vital to UNICEF’s work to reach children and families with the help they so urgently need when a disaster like Hurricane Dorian strikes.”
On Thursday, the New York Times reported that the death toll following Dorian in the Bahamas had risen to at least 23 people.
The storm destroyed homes, business and other buildings on the island, though Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said the flooding has receded in Freeport and Grand Bahama.
Though a “significant” number of people remain in shelters, most homes in Grand Bahama appear to have received only minor damage, Minnis said.
Bloomberg reported Thursday that damage throughout the island could cost the Bahamas an estimated $7 billion in damages.