‘Hoop 4 homies’ event raises funds for homeless Grand Rapidians

GVL / Courtesy - Delando Davis-Wright
Hoops 4 Homies

Delando Davis-Wright

GVL / Courtesy – Delando Davis-Wright Hoops 4 Homies

Kyle Doyle

There are those who sit on the bench and watch their team go up and down the court. They dream of the day when the coach decides to put them in during the last two minutes and they hit the game-winning buzzer.

Fortunately for benchwarmers everywhere, “Hoop 4 Homies” was an event where participants could feel like a winner, regardless of their playtime.

Grand Valley State University’s organization Almighty International Movement (AIM) hosted a three-on-three basketball tournament called “Hoop 4 Homies” to help raise money for the homeless people of Grand Rapids Saturday, Nov. 5 and Sunday, Nov. 6. The event took place over two days: one day for the tournament and the raising of the money, and the other day was spent delivering the gift baskets made with the money earned.

“We had about 15 teams sign up for the three-on-three tournament,” said Jake Kendall, vice president of AIM and GVSU junior. “It was $20 per team and so, it was about $300-$400 that we raised.”

AIM used the money they had raised to create 100 baskets of supplies, 50 of which contained blankets and 50 which included hats and gloves. All 100 baskets included assorted foods and water.

The organization took two passenger vans into Grand Rapids to distribute the gift baskets to members of the homeless population.

“Those donations went to the homeless on Fulton and on Division,” said Delando Davis-Wright, president of AIM and GVSU senior.

The idea for “Hoop 4 Homies” was developed over the summer between the 2015-16 school year and 2016-17 school year and was almost scrapped before it could get off the ground.

“We didn’t really like the name or (anything, so) we discarded the whole thing,” Davis-Wright said. “Then we brought it back at the last minute.”

After the success of “Hoop 4 Homies,” the pair began to formulate other ideas to help the homeless more during the next semester including haircuts, showers and taking resume builders down to homeless centers to assist in creating resumes.

“Someone actually ran up on Jake and asked him ‘Can you help me get a job?’ And that was inspiring right there,” Davis-Wright said.

AIM was founded in 2013 by Davis-Wright and Kendall with the goal of serving those in need and bring back a global perspective to communities where it was out of touch. In 2015, the organization was officially accepted by GVSU.

“We decided to come up with AIM, call it ‘Almighty International Movement’ and bring a kind service and equity to GVSU and also the greater outside communities that we don’t touch,” Davis-Wright said. “(We bring it to) Detroit, Chicago, Grand Rapids and these red-line communities that don’t generally get the perspective that they deserve from (the) GVSU body.”

Along with “Hoop 4 Homies,” AIM has done several other projects including, donating water and sanitation products to people impacted by the Flint water crisis, taking clothes, books, textbooks and other schools supplies to the Detroit Public Schools and a powder puff game with POWER, a women’s organization on campus, where the proceeds went to the Breast Cancer Society.

“It’s a great presence when, you (have) people that can bring something to the table, that’s in the same room together, to show the motivation and support from all types of different backgrounds,” Davis-Wright said.

To Davis-Wright and Kendall, AIM is more than just an organization. It’s their way of giving back and helping to inspire others to do the same. Both have a shared love for helping out those who are less fortunate and love to watch others share in that passion.

“I love serving the community, I’m going to do that regardless,” Kendall said. “The fact that we got two 15-passenger vans full of people, wanting to do the same thing, seeing the smiles on their faces, putting smiles on other people’s faces, (that’s) the best. That’s my biggest joy (is) watching our members have fun and make a difference.”