McGee continues to help community from afar
By Heather Graves.
BROWN COUNTY – Though his time on the court at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is over, young college basketball star Kamari McGee’s impact in the Greater Green Bay area isn’t.
The Racine native, who played his freshman year as a Phoenix before transferring to the University of Wisconsin-Madison last month, is teaming up with Brown County United Way for a community-wide clothing drive.
The Drive to the Hoop: Kamari’s Kids Klothing Drive will help stock We All Rise African American Resource Center’s youth clothing closet used to support families in need.
“I’ve always wanted to be in that position where I can give back to the community and be a part of the community,” McGee said. “That’s always been like a mini little dream of mine, just to be able to provide for the community.”
The drive is set to start with a kickoff event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 14, at the center located at 430 S. Webster Ave., and will feature clothing drop offs and other festivities, including music, snacks and pictures with McGee.
“(Those who attend) can expect nothing but my good vibes,” he said. “There’ll be a little photo op with me if anybody wants pictures. It will be filled with positive vibes and be something good to be at.”
McGee said he looks forward to connecting with the Green Bay community, an area that continues to be an important part of his outreach.
“As soon as I came to Green Bay, my freshman year, I just felt comfortable, the community helped me feel comfortable,” he said. “I felt like I was a part of the family, even though I was like, the new face around. The community made me feel a part of it, like I had been there for a long time.”
Organizers said items being sought include shorts, shirts and underwear for both boys and girls, all sizes.
“Depending on kids’ upbringing, and things like that, they may not have some clothes for the season,” McGee said. “Sometimes things can get hard. You never know what somebody’s gone through.”
Robin Scott, executive director at We All Rise, said the clothing drive is important because it directly supports survivors and their children.
“The impact of having a local athlete support our young people with getting summer necessities is unmatched,” she said. “We are so appreciative of Kamari and his team.”
Scott said the drive kicks off the summer reminding kids that “we are here for them.”
“It takes a village,” she said. “Our Helping Closet reminds parents as they prepare for the season change, those that can afford to give a little extra, had their kids in mind, too. We are just grateful that Kamari chose us to help raise awareness about our work and center needs.”
McGee said, as a role model, he’s excited to have the opportunity to help the community’s youth.
“I’m excited to put my name to this drive,” he said. “It’s my passion, and I think it’s very important to give back. It’s important, you know, just to help out the younger generation. It’s for a good cause to make sure that kids of all ages have clothes, so they don’t have to worry about what they’re wearing. It’s important to help them out.”
Robyn Davis, Brown County United Way president and CEO, said she hopes for a great response to the drive.
“It gets at the core of our vision of having an inclusive community where all individuals are able to meet their basic needs,” she said. “We’re really excited that Kamari reached out and wanted to partner with us because this is a great and simple way that the community can get involved and know that they’re making a difference in people’s lives.”
McGee said getting involved in the community goes a long way.
“At the end of the day, I play basketball but it’s bigger than basketball and it is bigger than the organizations,” he said. “Building those pipelines can make a community stronger than it already may be. It’s very important for athletes and organizations to build these bonds, because they can make a change in the community for the better.”
McGee said his community efforts won’t stop here.
“No matter where I’m at, the effort to be a part of the community does not stop,” he said. “I’m going to keep at it. Keep going.”
The drive will continue throughout the summer.
Those who miss the kickoff event can drop clothes off during We All Rise’s regular hours of Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursdays from 1-8 p.m.
Contact Brown County United Way or the We All Rise African American Resource Center for more information.