Carmelo Anthony saw the despair and devastation around his birth city in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and wanted to help.
So the New York Knicks’ star took a break from basketball Thursday and went back to the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, one of many areas hit hard by last week’s hurricane, to hand out boxes of food and housing supplies to those in need.
“I wanted to step up to the forefront,” Anthony said to a small group of reporters on the scene. “We all know what Sandy did to our city, especially to Brooklyn, and to Red Hook, with us being right here on the water. It hit us pretty bad, so I feel like I’m the face of Red Hook and I wanted to come back and give back to the place I grew up.”
In conjunction with the Carmelo Anthony Foundation, Feed the Children and Metro Ministries, Anthony delivered 500 boxes filled with food and cleaning supplies to a housing project on Columbia Avenue, a block away from where he lived as a child in Red Hook.
Some residents of the surrounding projects say they have been without electricity or heat since the storm hit last Sunday.
“Sometimes it feels like we’re the forgotten borough, the forgotten neighborhood,” said Red Hook resident Vanessa Bernard, who has been without power since last Sunday. “This is uplifting. Some families don’t have much at all, and it’s really difficult. Anything helps, and to do this is uplifting.”
“We just wanted to provide a temporary relief,” Justice Anthony, Carmelo’s brother, said.
That’s what Carmelo Anthony and the foundations did for Vincent Perez.
Perez had been unable to get to work due to the transportation system closures after the storm. He said he was running out of food and was concerned Thursday about from where his next meal would come.
“This a blessing because I have nothing,” he said after receiving a box of food and housing supplies from Carmelo Anthony. “I have no power, no heat and I was running out of clean clothes. This is a great relief.”
To Carmelo Anthony, it was a “no-brainer” to return to the community he grew up in and deliver goods to families affected by Sandy.
“I’m one of them, I was once one of them,” he said. “I grew up running around with a lot of the older guys as a little kid, so for me to come back and to help and give out house supplies and things like that, that’s the least I can do, especially at a time like this.”