PHOENIX — Families typically come to St. Vincent De Paul for a hot meal, help with a student’s homework or clothes but on Thursday – families were surprised to see two NBA Western Conference Champions helping serve plates.
Phoenix Suns forwards, Cam Johnson and Jalen Smith helped plate chicken, veggies, and mashed potatoes for Valley families in need of a hot meal.
One young fan, AJ, said he was “in shock” to see two players from his favorite team wearing aprons instead of jerseys.
The aspiring basketball player walked up to the two at the serving line to ask a few questions about the hard work they had to put in to get to the professional level and remind them of how last season ended.
“You lost in the finals,” said AJ.
“I was there,” said Cam Johnson with a smile on under his mask.
It’s not too common for middle schoolers to have a chance to trash talk with NBA players at St. Vincent De Paul, but what is more common for the non-profit is helping thousands of families with regular hot meals, health care, clothes even to help with housing.
“We just ask ‘how can we help you.’ Then we sit and work one-to-one with families and individuals to make sure we can get them to the next step of stability,” said Ryan Correy of St. Vincent De Paul.
With food prices higher during holiday months, breakdowns in parts of the food supply chain, and labor market shortages, Correy says their non-profit isn’t immune to challenges but they’re grateful for the Valley community for stepping up with donations.
The night before Smith and Johnson joined volunteers to serve, the Suns won their 10th game in a row.
Johnson said serving the community is just as much a part of his job as serving up Jump shots.
“It’s opportunities to impact people. A lot of times you sit there and think, basketball is just a game. It’s just a game but it gives us such a big platform. A big platform to help people and a big platform to serve,” said Johnson.
Correy said St. Vincent De Paul is in need of volunteer efforts and monetary donations to help continue aiding Valley families in need.