Like many Americans, Lakers star Anthony Davis has personal connections to the coronavirus pandemic. He has consumed the news daily, but his mother also shares updates with him. She has sisters who are healthcare workers.
“They’re around it a lot, and they’re at a high risk of being exposed to it because they’re in the hospital,” Davis said. “One of my aunties got sent home. I think they took a test and it hasn’t come back yet. … That’s the risk they’re willing to take to save so many lives.”
Davis has been thinking about the consequences of the pandemic for weeks now, both on healthcare workers and the economy. On Friday, he announced a partnership with Lineage Logistics, the world’s largest cold food storage company, in hopes of helping in both arenas. The first arm of the partnership will help Staples Center workers find jobs with Lineage, which has about 300 jobs to fill in the Los Angeles area as demand for frozen food rises.
Davis and Lineage will also match up to $250,000 in donations for Feed the Frontlines LA, an organization trying to raise money to purchase food from local restaurants and deliver it to hospital workers.
“I knew I wanted something good to happen for the employees that work at Staples who were unable to work,” Davis said. “Lineage Logistics had contacted my team, and you know I wanted to get involved with them and kind of supply food to everyone and [give] the people in Staples the opportunity to work.”
NBA teams and players have committed more than $38 million in relief funds — a number that doesn’t include Clippers owner Steve Ballmer’s $25-million donation Thursday. All 30 NBA teams have also pledged to compensate part-time staff.
Lineage had previously partnered with Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry to create jobs for arena workers in the Bay Area and store the food Curry planned to distribute in Oakland.
“They’re sensitive to these employees that are going to be out of work,” said Kevin Marchetti, co-executive chairman of the Lineage board of directors.
Lineage’s human resources department has worked with AEG to set up a special application link for arena workers to identify themselves as Staples Center employees for consideration for the available jobs.
Feed the Frontlines LA has already begun their fundraising and delivery efforts. The organization was founded by a group of mothers whose children attend Kenter Canyon Elementary School in Brentwood.
“One of the women, her sister’s an ER doctor at Kaiser,” said Shannon Pruitt, an organizer of Feed the Frontlines. “She’s like, we need masks, but that’s like a whole thing. We also need a decent meal. We were like, well, we can do that. … We were like, wait a second, there’s all these local restaurants as well that are trying to keep the lights on and all these people at these hospitals that will need to be fed.”
They have already raised more than $80,000 and started their deliveries this week, focusing on emergency room and intensive care units, with a goal of $3 million that they believe will be enough to help feed more than 450 hospital workers for 30 days.
“That number is quickly escalating, we’re finding out,” Pruitt said. “That number’s gonna escalate, but as it stands now the math works out that we’ll then be able to feed people for at least 30 days.”
They are working with World Central Kitchen, an organization started by chef Jose Andres, in order to carry out the meal deliveries.
“I have family and friends in the healthcare industry, and they tell me all the time that they get home later or don’t get a chance to go home for a long time,” Davis said. “I’m sure you see the pictures of the healthcare workers on social media. … I thought the least I could do was try to partner with Lineage Logistics and try to get food from these local restaurants. They’re struggling as well.”