I think it speaks volumes to JD’s character that during the two days he’s here that he wants to spend one of those days right after practice before a game tomorrow making 500 sandwiches for the homeless. —Chelsea Sather
SALT LAKE CITY — Jarred DuBois played just one season at the University of Utah after graduating from Loyola Marymount, and averaged a good but modest 12.4 points, three assists and 2.7 rebounds per game.
Nearly five years and a few countries after that lone campaign, however, DuBois is still making an impact on Salt Lake's community, the latest episode of which came on Thursday.
‘What do they do when the concert is going on?’
The story has been rather oft told of how, soon after DuBois arrived in Salt Lake City in 2012, he and some teammates went to a Twilight concert at Pioneer Park. They saw the challenges many who stay in the park face, and also realized the problems were likely worse when there wasn’t a concert taking place.
“What do they do when the concert is going on?” DuBois wondered.
At that point, the 6-foot-3 guard decided to do something about it. Having previously helped serve the homeless as a teenager growing up in Inglewood, California, DuBois got together some of his teammates and began buying bottles of water and making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to give to people at the park on Sundays.
After leaving the U., DuBois played overseas for a few years, but upon his return, he immediately began again coordinating service projects at the university to help the underprivileged in Salt Lake City. Last December, he spearheaded a drive to donate sandwiches and other items to a homeless shelter, then in February, there was a project focused on providing “Valentine’s bags” to a women’s shelter.
On Thursday at the A. Ray Olpin Union building on campus, a room full of volunteers once again gathered to put together bags of sandwiches and Nutri-Grain bars and finished them off with notes of encouragement to be donated to The Road Home next to Pioneer Park.
While the timing of Thursday’s project coincides with the rise in volunteerism that often happens this time of year, it mainly had to do with the fact that DuBois was in town with the Toronto Raptors, who he now works for as a player development coach.
The Raptors take on the Utah Jazz Friday night at Vivint Arena after having played the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday in Colorado.
“I just think it’s important to continue the mindset of ‘Life is not all about you,’” DuBois said Thursday after Toronto practiced at Vivint Arena. “There are other people in this community. If you live in a community, it’s probably in your best interest to try to do for those around that community.”
Much of DuBois’ motive has to do with the fact that because of his basketball endeavors, he has been in positions very visible to the public
“As players, as people that live here, everyone gives you an environment to live a good life, and I think it’s part of our duty, to find some avenue to give back,” he said.
DuBois was joined Thursday by many involved in basketball, including former Runnin’ Ute and current Raptors big man Jakob Poeltl (former Utah guard and current Raptor Delon Wright had intended to go but couldn’t make it), a pair of Toronto assistant coaches, a group of current Runnin’ Utes, former Utah guard Austin Eastman and even Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey’s wife, Becky.
“I feel like it’s a great cause, and coming back here, coming to the U. and helping the community out here in Utah where my journey here in America started, it’s always great to do stuff like that,” said Poeltl, a native of Austria. “It’s a little effort from our side, but it has such a big impact, so I really like doing that kind of stuff.”
Added Eastman: “It’s fun, it’s a good cause, so might as well.”
Chelsea Sather, a student at the university, was primarily responsible for coordinating the event since DuBois (who most call just “JD”) is in Salt Lake City for a brief time. She received assistance from Sandi Pershing, the wife of university president David Pershing (the couple volunteered at the event last winter), and worked to get food donations from Chartwells, the university’s catering service.
The event came together over the last few weeks, with there being a dash over the last few days to get volunteers, primarily through word-of-mouth. A large majority of the volunteers were students from the university.
“I think it speaks volumes to JD’s character that during the two days he’s here that he wants to spend one of those days right after practice before a game tomorrow making 500 sandwiches for the homeless,” Sather said.
She echoed DuBois’ philosophy on community service, saying, “Anytime that I can take a second to do something for the community that I live in, I want to do it.”
Added student volunteer Natalie Battad: “It’s a super easy concept, and the sandwiches weren’t very complex, but it’ll mean a lot to whoever receives them, so I think that’s cool.”
In reality, DuBois said he organizes these events as much for the volunteers as he does those who will receive the items, which were delivered to The Road Home on Thursday night.
“The most important thing for us is just the environment,” he said. “We want people to come to a place where it’s not about you and to do something for someone else.”