With winter just around the corner, Chicago native and Detroit Pistons point guard, Will Bynum, is helping homeless youth in the Windy City put their best foot forward.
“I want to help children,” Bynum told NBC Chicago, after donating 170 pairs of sneakers to homeless teens in the city. “I’m from Chicago and I know the kids need help. And when you add on the component of being homeless, there’s an even greater need. This donation is my effort to hopefully take some of the pressure off these teens who don't have the means to have basic necessities.”
Bynum made the donation to The Night Ministry, a Chicago-based organization that works to offer housing, health care and a human connection to members of the Chicago community struggling with poverty or homelessness. The Night Ministry operates on the ground in Chicago Neighborhoods to build relationships and provide immediate, practical resources.
In the midst of an alarming crime hike in Chicago – up 38 percent from this same time last year – and with more than 350,000 children not in school as a result of the CPS teacher’s strike, Bynum chooses to lend his hand and his voice to help a growing section of the community that many may not even be aware of.
According to the CPS identified record, there were 17,255 homeless students during the 2011-2012 school year; a 10 percent increase from the prior year.
“Will Bynum’s generosity will help The Night Ministry provide much-needed support to youth who are homeless and precariously housed in Chicago,” said Paul W. Hamann, President and CEO of The Night Ministry.
“As the weather turns increasingly colder, Will’s donation of 170 pairs of gym shoes will help our youth to stay warm this fall. We are very fortunate and so happy to have received this gift.”
Bynum’s "Above The Rim" brand shoes will be distributed at street outreach events which will take place every Tuesday and Thursday night. The event will run from 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. during the fall months, and from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. during the winter months, near the corner of Belmont and Halsted in the Lakeview neighborhood.
Last November, in the midst of the NBA lockout, Bynum hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for hundreds of displaced youth in the city.