The scenario has popped into every kid’s head. What would I get at the grocery store if I could get anything I wanted? Well, on Thursday it was a free-for-all at Homeland in Oklahoma City, as five children from one family got to zoom through the aisles, with only Nick Collison there to help direct what went into the buggies.
Nancy Lainez, the mother of 14-year old Jesus, 12-year old Cristian, 10-year old Darwin, 8-year old Juan Carlos and 7-year old Andrea was unable to attended the Thunder’s event with Collison at Homeland, so instead it was up to an industrious cousin to help the kids pick up all their needs, and a few extra treats on the side.
“I’ll be interested to see how the mom feels about what they got because the kids were throwing in a lot of stuff,” Collison laughed. “Out of all of the ones I’ve been to, this is the most the kids have participated and they’ve gotten away with the most junk food in the cart.”
Collison noted that the family received another gift card to go shopping again at Homeland, which gives Nancy a chance to circle back later and pick up any essentials that her kids missed.
The quintet of tykes are likely still buzzing from their meeting with Collison. Little Andrea leapt into the veteran Thunder forward’s arms for a big hug midway through the shopping spree. She just couldn’t believe it. The boys were chit chatting with Collison about nearly everything, and then lined up for autographs on every Thunder piece of paraphernalia they could reach.
“It was amazing. I think it was a good experience for the kids also because they are Thunder fans,” said Sabree Frank, the cousin of the five children who drove them to the event and helped them shop. “I was honestly really surprised how good he was with them. Not a lot of people are good with kids. I thought he was really great with them. He was really nice and generous.”
“They’re excited. They can’t wait to get back to school and tell everybody about it,” said Linwood Elementary School Principal’s Secretary Anne Edwards, who nominated the family.
Watch: Collison Delivers 10th Year of Homeland Shopping Spree
As the Thunder marks its 10th season of NBA basketball in Oklahoma City, it’s fitting that Collison made his 10th Homeland Shopping Spree visit with this afternoon’s event. One for each year he’s been in Oklahoma City, and an incredible $10,000 donated to local families in need of a little boost.
For Thunder players, this trip to Homeland with one family is always one of the most sought-after community appearances. It’s an intimate, one-on-one, on in this case five-on-one, chance for them to connect with the citizens of Oklahoma City who desperately cheer them on night after night. For NBA players whose lives are sectioned off into homestands and road trips, a trip to Homeland can be the perfect way to stay grounded.
“It’s great that you actually get to spend time with the family and it really helps families out to just get a little bit of a helping hand and get all the food they need,” Collison said.
“Playing basketball in Oklahoma City, and all NBA teams, you need the whole community to support you. You need the city to support you or it’s not going to work, and we’ve had a ton of support here,” Collison explained. “We understand that part of the job is getting out into the community and doing things for those people who support us.”