Wolves Take Part In Annual Holiday Shopping For Kids

Wolves Take Part In Annual Holiday Shopping For Kids

We talk a lot about the path to the NBA. Sometimes rides to the league are a little easier than others. Some might be bumpier. On Sunday evening, though, that path looked pretty insignificant compared to the path of life.

On Sunday evening, the Minnesota Timberwolves teamed up with MARN (Minnesota Adoption Resource Network) and SPIRE Federal Credit Union to provide the ninth annual Holiday Shopping for Kids event. Twenty-one children in foster care from ages 7 to 16 went on a $500 shopping spree at the downtown Target location – accompanied by a SPIRE Federal Credit Union representative. Nine players on the Timberwolves were also spread across the store to help the children shop for both things they wanted and needed.

“I mean, everybody that’s made it to the NBA has some sort of adversity but in the grand scheme of things, is it anything like what these kids are facing?” Wolves forward Robbie Hummel said. “Probably not, whether it’s an injury or whatever it was to get to the NBA… I can’t even imagine being in their situation. Obviously they’ve had to go through some tough things in their life. They’ve seen some tough things, hopefully for a day they can forget about that and have a good day here at Target.”

Most kids were from the metropolitan area and according to Lorenzo Davis, a representative of Minnesota Human Services, there are more than 500 Minnesota kids waiting to be adopted.

“Having a permanent family is not only something that every adult cherishes, but also something every kid cherishes,” Davis said. “And the holiday season is especially important for kids, so they share something with their family.”

The evening started with a taco party at SEVEN Steakhouse across the street from the Target Center. The children then found out that along with meeting the players, CRUNCH and a taco buffet, they were actually getting $500 to spend as well.

“I was actually pretty excited. I found out last night when my mom and dad talked to me and told me about this and I was real excited and I was really looking forward to this,” said Max, one of the young shoppers. “And then when I came in and heard about the $500, I was so excited and wondering what I was going to buy for it.”

After arriving in the back warehouse of Target, the children were introduced to their personal shopping assistant. The representatives from SPIRE Federal Credit Union helped the children shop and sponsored the event for the second straight year.

“SPIRE wants to be a net giver and give back to the community,” said SPIRE President and CEO Dan Stoltz. “Really, seeing these kids, seeing their faces light up on a day like today, this is what it’s all about.”

The children were told to both shop for wants and needs. Each child had a wish list of 10 items and had a marker ready to cross the items off the list. The lists varied from shoes to jackets to iPads, video games and bikes. Some children even bought gifts for friends or family with their money.

Timberwolves wing Corey Brewer was in the video game and helped children pick out games, along with other items in the electronics section. Brewer said how special it was for him to witness the children enjoy the evening.

“It means a lot just because I’m very fortunate. I play in the NBA, I play basketball for a living, so to give someone less fortunate something, to be able to shop with them or any little thing means a lot,” Brewer said. “I remember when I was a kid, my mom and my dad they struggled, but I had everything I wanted. Just to give these kids a smile on their face.”

The players and children shared a laugh when a child asked forward Chase Budinger if he was a player. Budinger, who is currently out with a right knee injury, responded: “Well, I’m kind of a phantom player right now.”

Through sponsors like SPIRE, the Roger & Nancy McCabe Foundation, SEVEN and Target, the Wolves were able to help 22 children who are up for adoption in this market. It was an opportunity to go shopping over the holidays and meet a professional basketball at the same time, hopefully making their holiday season a little brighter.

“Not only do their (the children) faces light up, but I see the faces of the Timberwolves light up as well,” Davis said. “These kids bring out the best in them and they bring out the best in kids... They all had a really good time. The Timberwolves basketball players had a really good time as well. I think what it says about the Timberwolves is that they really care… I think they also really want to see kids thrive.”

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