On Feb. 5, the Minnesota Timberwolves FastBreak Foundation along with Just Born Quality Confections put some big smiles on some small (in stature) individuals at the Mall of America.
As part of WolvesCare month (presented by Just Born), the two groups hosted 15 area children with life-threatening or chronic medical conditions for an afternoon of fun alongside Ricky Rubio and Adreiann Payne.
The children participating in the event are from HopeKids, a nonprofit organization that works to restore and transform the lives of the children.
The day started at Build-A-Bear Workshop where the Wolves helped the kids make their own stuffed animals. In fact, one youngster even helped Rubio create his own Timberwolf-styled stuffed animal.
“We’re blessed,” Rubio said. “We’re blessed to be able to help the kids that way and have a great time here at the Mall of America Building a Bear. But it’s not just that. It’s forgetting their problems and having a great time and smiling.”
And there were plenty of smiles.
The day continued at the PEEPS & COMPANY store in Nickelodeon Universe.
There was candy everywhere. Mike and Ikes, Hot Tamales and of course, PEEPS. The children were given a bag or a giant cup to full up with as much sugar as they wanted to – including a new Mike and Ikes’ mix called “Timberwolves 3-Point Mix.”
“It’s the squeals of delight and enjoyment. It’s the fact that a little bit of sugar is going to make their day and it’s helping these kids maintain that courage that they need to have through whatever it is they’re going through,” said Just Born Managing Director Kimberly Stiele.
In total, the events ranged to about two hours. But the hope is for these children, is that it will give them a memory for the rest of their lives and put a smile on their faces whenever they think of it. For the Timberwolves, it wasn’t just another appearance. It was an opportunity for them to assist young children as people, not necessarily basketball players.
“Just seeing them coming in, seeing them smile,” Payne said. “Just us being able to be here. It means a lot to them. Just the little bit of time we were able to spend with them, it goes a long way and it just takes their mind off the things that they’re going through in life and just let them be kids again.”
Mall of America Takeover Brings Big Hearts And Big Smiles Together