DETROIT – On a chilly May day, Marvin Skipper is feeding hundreds of families from the neighborhood where he grew up on Detroit’s east side.
The prized basketball recruit out of Pershing High School nearly lost his life to a heart condition 12 years ago. Skipper’s heart stopped twice while doctors were looking into abnormal heart rhythms.
Doctors save his life, but his basketball days were over -- yet his love for his community only grew stronger.
“You know, basketball was always my first love. My community was second," Skipper said. "When basketball was taken away, it just moved to nothing but time to do something that I love.”
Now Skipper gives back through his nonprofit called Youth Are Bigger Than Life, helping families that look exactly like his growing up.
“Just growing up in the neighborhood I grew up in, it is pretty rough,” Skipper said. “I see a lot of single parents, a lot of people struggling, people losing their jobs around this time -- so the nonprofit is just trying to help.”
Skipper also works as a district manager for service and parts for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). Though he says he’s lucky to be working, Skipper knows that access to reliable food is difficult for many amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Gleaner’s Community Food Bank, Faith Lutheran in Troy and co-workers from FCA have all helped Skipper package and delivery food to 700 families as part of Skipper’s “COVID-19 Grocery Giveaway”.
“We need help in the neighborhood," Skipper said. "I advise anybody that is watching this: if you can, come and help just one person in the neighborhood, two people -- help somebody. Everybody needs help in this life and if we can help each other we’ll be successful.”
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