"Together we can change the world one small gesture at a time," Kyrie Irving wrote, urging fans to contribute what they can to local food banks

By Claudia Harmata
March 24, 2020 03:40 PM
Mike Stobe/Getty

Kyrie Irving celebrated his birthday by helping those in need.

On Tuesday, the Brooklyn Nets star turned 28 years old and announced that he would be donating $323,000 to Feeding America, a nonprofit organization that works with food banks and shelters, to help with relief efforts amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Irving also partnered with City Harvest, a New York-based organization, to provide 250,000 meals to New Yorkers affected by the pandemic.

“Thank you all for the birthday love, I’m extremely grateful for the support. Seeing the effects of COVID-19 reach our loved ones, our schools, our jobs, and access to food has really impacted me,” he wrote in a lengthy post on Instagram. “I am excited to partner with @feedingamerica and @lineagelogistics to launch the Share A Meal campaign to help marginalized communities get the food resources they require during this time, and to work with our local partner @cityharvestnyc to distribute 250k meals to my neighbors in need across the NY area.”

“In addition to that I am donating $323k to Feeding America and @lineagelogistics will match $200k of what we raise together,” he added, before urging fans to consider donating with a link in his bio.

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“I am asking my fans, friends, family and partners to join me in helping our communities by donating at the link in my bio. Thank you to everyone on the front line working to keep all of us safe, healthy, and fed. Together we can change the world one small gesture at a time,” the athlete concluded.

According to NBA reporter Howard Beck, Irving chose to donate $323,000 as a nod to his birthday and to the late Kobe Bryant’s jersey number.

“Why $323k? Today (3/23) is Kyrie’s birthday. Also, I’m told, because 3+2+3=8, in honor of @kobebryant,” Beck shared on Twitter.

Irving is the latest athlete to give back to their local community as a way to help those who have been affected by the coronavirus.

Ciara and NFL player Russell Wilson donated a million meals to Seattle Food LifeLine, while Houston Texans’ JJ Watt and wife Kealia Ohai also donated $350,000 to the Houston Food Bank.

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Four of Irving’s Nets teammates tested positive for the virus last week, including star forward Kevin Durant. The Nets have not identified the three other players who tested positive, but released a statement saying that all four were put in isolation.

“All four players are presently isolated and under the care of team physicians,” the team said in a statement on March 17, posted by multiple reporters. “The organization is currently notifying anyone who has had known contact with the players, including recent opponents, and is working closely with state and local health authorities on reporting.”

“The health of our players and staff is of the highest priority to the organization and the team is doing everything within its power to ensure that those affected receive the best care possible,” their statement continued.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.

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