James Harden and Kroger are teaming up to help families in a major way during the COVID-19 crisis. Harden and Kroger will provide groceries to 600 families each week over the next eight weeks, with donations set to be distributed to local food pantries throughout Houston.
The new program will begin on April 16, running through June 4. Distributions will serve residents in Alief, Third Ward, Fifth Ward, Southeast and Northwest Houston, per FOX 26 Houston's Mark Berman.
“It’s a challenging time for all of us, so I’m thankful to work with Kroger and Houston Food Bank to provide this program for families in need,” Harden said in a statement. “Hopefully this gives those families one less thing to worry about while we get through this together.”
Harden and his Rockets' teammates have lent a helping hand throughout Houston during the coronavirus outbreak. Russell Westbrook donated 650 laptops to students in an effort to help students bridge the "digital divide" on April 13, and guard Ben McLemore has partnered with manufacturer C3 to develop and distribute N95 respirator masks to medical personnel and those in need.
Both P.J. Tucker and Danuel House have supported the Houston Food Bank, while head coach Mike D'Antoni donated $100,000 to the Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund on March 26. As the NBA waits for a return to play, the Rockets are staying plenty busy.
The NBA is now in its second month of the coronavirus suspension, though there are contingencies being considered for a return to play. The league is reportedly considering hosting the playoffs in one city (potentially Las Vegas), and the season schedule could be trimmed in order to end by Labor Day weekend.
The Rockets sit No. 6 in the Western Conference at 40–24, currently slated to face the Nuggets in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. Houston was on pace to win 50-plus games for the fourth straight season before the NBA's hiatus.