Surprise! $500 Shopping Spree with Wolves
"Let's do some shopping!" exclaimed Wolves forward Kevin Love clapping his hands together. Unable to contain himself any longer, 11 year old Jonathon looked up at Love's 6-10 frame and burst out from pure excitement, "Wanna see my list?!"
Jonathon was one of the 13 deserving children, awaiting adoption, from the Minnesota Adoption Resource Network (MARN) that participated in the Holiday Shopping for Kids event presented by the Timberwolves Fastbreak Foundation and World Vision.
As of September 17, 2010 the Minnesota Department of Human Services has 948 children under state guardianship of those 348 are in need of immediate adoption, and out of the 348 children 36 percent of them are siblings who need to be adopted together.
Monique Korn from World Vision explained how they were more than happy to partner with the Wolves for the special holiday event to bring in 10 more deserving children.
"They actually asked us if we would identify two partners and we decided to do that. We invited one partner that's in St. Paul (Mt. Olivet Baptist Church) and one partner that's in Minneapolis (Sanctuary CDC). They were really excited and they both brought five kids each," Korn said.
The month of December is known as the Season of Giving for the Fastbreak Foundation and giving they did. 23 children ranging from seven to 16 years of age were brought to SEVEN Steakhouse for what they thought was just an afternoon snack, including a possible player meet and greet...little did they know it was so much more. Team president Chris Wright surprised the children by announcing that they were getting a $500 shopping spree at Target and to help them spend wisely they would be paired with a player.
"It's awesome! I just thought we were going to come in here, get some autographs, maybe come in here and eat some ice cream and then when I get told we might be able to get $500 and shop for what we want. I was speechless, and that doesn't really happen that much," beamed Roscoe a 12 year old boy with MARN who was partnered up with center Kosta Koufos. "You're the best team ever. Really nice...generous, most people wouldn't do this."
After wrapping up their afternoon snack at SEVEN the children were more than ready to start their Christmas shopping extravaganza."They get $500 today from the Wolves and they have two lists, a list of things that they want and a list of things that they need. Today the hope is that they'll be able to get both; some of the things that they're really, really, crazy about and some of the things too that they will actually need for school or for home or for anything like that," explained Davis.
Rookie Wes Johnson was teamed up with 11 year old boys, Kingston and Tomas, who were chosen by Mt. Olivet. "We're looking for shoes, coats, clothes and different stuff to keep warm. They've got a couple little games and stuff on their list, but really just the necessities they need like the clothes." After trying on an array of winter coats one of the boys decided on an orange ski jacket. "I like that color...that's my college color," laughed Johnson.
The scene at Target included everything from Love and his team putting on Iron Man masks, to staging a light saber fight with Darko Milicic in the aisles. Carts full of toys, clothes and electronics were everywhere and smiles plastered on everyone's faces.
Koufos and Love both agreed that they enjoy the event because they get to act like kids again.
"It's always fun," Koufos said. "Shop around, it brings out the little kid inside yourself too. It's always good to give back to the community. The more you give back the more good comes to you."
Love added, "We get to be very hyper and, you know, run around with them and, you know, enjoy the gifts that they get as well. So, it's a good way to give back and see the smile on their faces at the end of the day. It's really cool."
As the hour of shopping came to a close the children had done more than enough damage with their $500.
Tolliver went on to explained the importance behind the event, "Everybody deserves some sort of Christmas and to be able to give back to the community to these people who are less fortunate than us to be able to give them a Christmas that they couldn't have otherwise."
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Jonah on Twitter. Visit the Wolves official Facebook Page here.