Community uses their love of basketball to help neighbor - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Community uses their love of basketball to help neighbor

Posted: Updated:
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

It looked like a typical basketball game Thursday night at Chestnut Accelerated Middle School in Springfield. But this time, it wasn't about the score.

"Basketball is kind of the glue of the neighborhood," said gym director Mel Federico.

That may hold true now more than ever before. Not long ago Federico was approached by 22-year-old Jonathan Melendez.

For years, Melendez has spent five nights a week at the school, playing basketball.

"I just have fun here and have a lot of friends that support me," Melendez said. 

He needs that support now more than ever.

In January, Melendez's son Jayden died just short of his second birthday.

Little Jayden had hung on and battled a rare brain disease that left him unable to walk, see or speak.

"He couldn't talk or anything, but he was a baby and smiling and a lot of people love him, too," Melendez said. 

His death was a blow to Melendez and funeral expenses built up.

That's when a community that had grown around basketball stepped in.

"We've had people from the neighborhood volunteer to keep score, referee, the janitor. I mean everybody really is just open arms," Federico said. 

Federico set up a basketball tournament, charged each player $25 and so far they've raised nearly $1,000 for Melendez and his family to get a proper headstone to honor Jayden's life.

Without this community to help him back onto his feet, Melendez says he doesn't know where he'd be.

"We need the money to pay for the stuff we need, so I just want to thank all the people that came and supported us," Melendez said.

Copyright 2014 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Prosecutors: DNA evidence links Garcia to girl's murder

    Prosecutors: DNA evidence links Garcia to girl's murder

    Friday, August 29 2014 11:05 PM EDT2014-08-30 03:05:03 GMT
    The horrifying details of the capital murder of 5-year-old Janaya Thompson were presented to a judge Friday. A Gulfport detective talked about the evidence investigators have against Alberto Garcia.More >>
    The horrifying details of the capital murder of 5-year-old Janaya Thompson were presented to a judge Friday. A Gulfport detective talked about the evidence investigators have against Alberto Garcia. During Friday's hearing, prosecutors revealed that DNA evidence found on Janaya's body has come back from the crime lab with a positive match for Garcia's DNA.More >>
  • Breaking

    Man involved in fatal accident that killed wife apprehended

    Man involved in fatal accident that killed wife apprehended

    Friday, August 29 2014 6:09 PM EDT2014-08-29 22:09:42 GMT
    The man involved in Thursday's fatal accident on Wolf River Road that killed one woman is now in custody.More >>
    The man involved in Thursday's fatal accident on Wolf River Road that killed one woman is now in custody. Harrison County Sheriff Melvin Brisolara said Joshua Emmanuel Ladner, 27, was arrested at his home on Fire Tower Road in Pass Christian on Friday. He is charged with felony leaving the scene of an accident causing death and felony fleeing.More >>
  • Breaking

    Man killed by stolen van in Biloxi identified

    Man killed by stolen van in Biloxi identified

    Friday, August 29 2014 6:07 PM EDT2014-08-29 22:07:04 GMT
    The man who was killed by an alleged drunk driver in a stolen van on Friday morning has been identified.More >>
    The man who was killed by an alleged drunk driver in a stolen van on Friday morning has been identified. Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove said 26-year-old Christopher Curry, of Jackson, was pronounced dead at the Ocean Springs Hospital shortly before 7:15 a.m.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

208 DeBuys Road
Biloxi, MS 39531
(228) 896-1313

FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WLOX. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.