The Phoenix Suns wrapped up their time in Flagstaff for the 2019 Suns training camp as they prepared for the upcoming NBA season. While the players stayed in the gym working on their game, other members of the Suns organization came to extend a helping hand for the community at the Flagstaff Family Food Center.
Local volunteers, Suns staff members and some Phoenix Suns alumni showed up to make food packages. Tim Joyce, the facilities manager at the food bank, discussed the impact of the Suns coming to help.
“They reached out to us and with them here we’ll get a lot done today,” Joyce said. “We’re in the taking care of people business, not the policing people business. We build produce boxes five days a week, make emergency food bags as well and we usually feed about 2,500 families a month.”
The Suns have been reaching out to the community for over 20 years. They began training in northern Arizona 23 years ago and have been here consecutively for the past seven years. Not only did the Sun's staff members come out to help, but also former players made their way up north. Tim Kempton played for the Suns during the 1992-93 season, which was the season the Suns made it to its only NBA finals appearance. Kempton explained why he enjoys doing his part for the communities that the Suns are a part of.
“Well just like anything, you know with life you build up relationships,” Kempton said. “You start running into the same old people and this gives me a chance to kind of rekindle friendships and help people that are the backbone of the communities that Suns consider home. So coming up to Flagstaff and seeing a lot of the same people, doing events over and over again, it’s kind of fun to see people here in the community that have been doing this stuff for years.”
Kempton is no stranger to Flagstaff, or NAU, as his son, Matthew Kempton, is a tight end for the Lumberjacks football team.
After two hours of working to prepare food, the Suns presented the Flagstaff Family Food Center with a check for $7,500.
The money will help the food bank continue to improve the community and reach out to the people of Flagstaff who may need a little extra help getting food for their families.
“This was a complete surprise and an absolute blessing,” Joyce said. “It really shows us that the Suns care about the community and want to help in any way they possibly can.”
The Phoenix Suns are not only dedicated to success for themselves on the basketball court, but they are also dedicated to helping communities through charity work and philanthropic efforts. The team takes its slogan “Rise Together” not just as a slogan for trying to improve a basketball team, but as a slogan to help better communities and help people who need it the most.
This act of generosity showed that no matter what the result is of the team during the regular season, the Suns organization is dedicated as active members in the communities of Phoenix and Flagstaff.