In the Community: Anderson, Smith Host Shopping Spree

Anderson, Smith Host Shopping Spree

December 11, 2012

When Kelley Allenspach was contacted to get involved with the latest New Orleans Hornets community event, she didn’t have to think twice before giving her answer. The Development Director for Boys Hope Girls Hope was one of the many people involved in the shopping spree put on by the Hornets at Toys ‘R’ Us for local children on Monday, Dec. 10.

“About a year ago, the Hornets reached out to us to be a part of one of their community days at an actual Hornets game,” said Allenspach. “Julie (Borsch, the Hornets’ Community Investment Development Executive) and I kept in touch over the year, and she reached out to us to get involved with this program, and our boys were immediately head over heels with the idea.”

Children from Boys Hope Girls Hope, along with Kingsley House and Raintree Child and Family Services, were treated to a $100 gift card to Toys ‘R’ Us, along with a t-shirt and Hornets jersey. Best of all, however, they were hand-delivered these items by Hornets forwards Ryan Anderson and Jason Smith.

“It sounds so surreal when someone calls you and asks you to meet Ryan or Jason,” Allenspach said with a grin, “so when you actually see it come together… it’s just really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Anderson and Smith took time out of their schedules to greet the kids in the Metairie toy store, giving humorous introductions to one another, followed by some words of wisdom as to why giving back is so important during this time of year.

“Obviously I want to express that giving is something you should do all throughout the year, but this is a special time when it should really be something that we focus on,” Anderson said. “We’ve been given so much, Jason and I, and were so blessed to do what we do. We want to give back, and this is just a small little thing we can do. It’s just really fun.”

Smith, whose favorite childhood toy was his dump truck, spent some time looking over the latest remote-controlled cars with some of the children, giving them a memory that they will never forget.

“It puts a smile on my face,” Smith said. “I’m a little kid at heart too, so just to give back to them and to give them the opportunity to go have a Merry Christmas, it brightens my day too, and to see their faces light up, that’s enough for me right there.”

The night wrapped up with kids buying anything from headphones to Nerf guns, with Smith and Anderson giving their recommendations to as many children as they could. The laughter and smiles spread throughout the group after the successful event.

“It’s one of those things that gives you goose bumps when you finally see it happen in person,” Allenspach said. “It’s just wonderful.”