Thunder to Hold Fifth Annual Holiday Assist

Oklahoma City, Thursday, Nov. 15 – The fifth annual Thunder Holiday Assist initiative is under way, and events to benefit individuals and organizations across the community will continue throughout the holiday season, the team announced today.

Holiday Assist, presented by Cox Communications, began with Sunday’s food drive at Chesapeake Energy Arena, which netted 7,500 pounds of food, thanks to fan donations and a tripling contribution from Homeland. The drive was part of Gov. Mary Fallin’s “Feeding Oklahoma Food and Fund Drive,” and all donations will go to benefit families through the Regional Food Bank, which will be able to provide nearly 6,000 meals with the donated food.

Upcoming events during Holiday Assist will call on Thunder players, fans, corporate partners, community organizations and even Rumble and the Thunder Girls to spread hope, help and holiday cheer.

Fans can take part in a toy drive on Friday, Dec. 7, benefiting kids through the Salvation Army Angel Tree program. The team will accept donations prior to the Thunder vs. L.A. Lakers game, starting at 6 p.m. until tipoff at 8:30. Check THUNDER.NBA.COM for additional details prior to the Dec. 7 game.

On Friday, Dec. 28, fans are also invited to donate blood through the team’s annual Oklahoma Blood Institute Holiday Blood Drive. The drive will take place at the Cox Convention Center from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; all individuals who wish to donate blood will receive an exclusive Thunder T-shirt featuring Rumble the Bison. This year, fans who give blood at other OBI donation centers across the state that day will also receive a shirt.

Rumble will serve as the honorary “chairbison” of the Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign, and the Thunder Girls will help kick off the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program at Quail Springs Mall on Friday, Nov. 16.

“The Thunder has built a tradition of providing a helping hand in our community, especially during the holiday season,” said Dan Mahoney, Thunder vice president of Community Relations. “We are humbled by how our fans step forward every year to assist our efforts and share in the holiday spirit. We are also thankful to our players, who have lent their time and resources to numerous Holiday Assist events since 2008." Over the five seasons in Oklahoma City, Thunder players have made nearly 1,000 community appearances.

Other Holiday Assist events will include a holiday meal giveaway at the Urban Mission, courtesy of the Thunder and Homeland; a Thanksgiving meal and carnival for families at the City Rescue Mission; a shopping spree for families in the Sunbeam Family Services Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program; and a special holiday Reading Timeout with the Thunder Girls, featuring the book “The Polar Express.”

MEDIA NOTE: The Thunder will provide media with additional details for events that will be open to media only; watch for media advisories as the dates of those events approach. The holiday meal giveaway at the Urban Mission is scheduled for this Saturday, Nov. 17.