By Andre Toran
CHARLOTTE, N.C.– Towering over a table full of provisions and supplies, Toronto Raptors forward Danny Green anchored an assembly line with an ear-to-ear smile, ready to help.
Hopeful hearts and good intentions catalyzed the production lines at Second Harvest Foodbank of Metrolina Friday afternoon in Charlotte, as current NBA players and legends filed into the building throughout the day– joining the ranks of volunteers and Second Harvest staff for the NBA’s annual Day of Service.
Green was easily the biggest figure at his station, but it was his heart and effort that commanded the space, rather than his stature.
The goal of the day: to package and sort 6,000 food boxes, 5,000 bags of fresh produce, a tractor trailer full of non-food product such as toiletries, and fashion 250 care-kits for Charlotte’s homeless population and 250 pet-packs for Catawba Humane Society.
Unbeknownst to Green, his efforts reached beyond the hungry mouths of Charlotte’s less fortunate and to another cause he holds near and dear to his heart: the humane treatment of animals. The packs of pet supplies Green and others at Second Harvest helped fashion went to support the efforts of Humane Society of Catawba County.
The Catawba Humane Society is a local advocate for the humane treatment of companion animals, in the past serving as many as 2,000 animals at their facility in a year. The society’s mission is to find a home for adoptable animals in their area and to prevent euthanization at all costs.
The pet-packs and supplies that Second Harvest and Green helped to make will contribute to a cause that will increase the chances companion animals have to find a home or live longer in the care of the Humane Society.
“As a pet owner, as an animal lover you have love for all creatures,” said Green, who played college basketball at North Carolina. “This is bigger than basketball, you know? To be a part of the Carolina community and to do this in Carolina, the fact that I went to school here makes it that much more special.”
Green currently has two dogs, pomskies Gizmo and Nuke, and was the owner of two boa constrictors – Jade and Jon Snow—before the latter’s recent passing.
Green recently told Vice Magazine his love for animals began as a child in his grandmother’s Long Island home, a space peppered with the presence of dogs, cats, birds and fish.
Now, as a proud animal owner himself, Green hopes to continue to stand for the humane treatment of animals, maintaining an active role in the animal community and beyond.
“Basketball is always fun,” Green said. “But a lot of things that we do and the reason why we play is to help our communities, give back and help the youth, the younger generation and the less fortunate… it’s very humbling and I’m glad I’m able to be here this weekend and share this with so many great people.”
The next step for the Raptors forward is to expand his influence and reach into the Toronto community. Green understands that there is an opportunity for him to use his platform as an NBA player to reach those in need on a consistent basis, humans and animals alike.
“Each year I try to do something more, something different,” Green said. “I would say having my basketball camps is a small part of it, but each year we are looking to do different and bigger things. Obviously, I’m in Toronto now, so I’m learning the Canadian way and the different organizations they have there. So, hopefully I can build a brand and a family, and also help the communities there.”