Wolves Give Back During Season Of Giving

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Fifteen-year-old Craig idolizes Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley. Craig, knowing only that he would be at a Timberwolves function on Monday, kept a hand-written letter to Beasley in his back pocket just in case he ran into his hero.

Turns out, Craig and 12 other deserving children awaiting adoption, ranging from ages 9-16, were in for the thrill of a lifetime.

For the seventh straight year, the Minnesota Adoption Resource Network (MARN) teamed with the Timberwolves FastBreak Foundation to put on the Holiday Shopping for Kids event. Each child received a pizza dinner at Seven Steakhouse, a $500 gift card to Target and a shopping spree with one of the Timberwolves players.

And Craig, beaming from ear to ear, got to hand his letter to Beasley in person.

“It's a good thing to do for kids like me," he said. "It helps out a lot, especially when we're going through rough times like this. We've got kids that are not even 15, that are 9, that don't have a family. Knowing that an organization this big is coming out to see us really means a lot, not just to me but to everybody else here."

December is known as the Season of Giving for the FastBreak Foundation, and each year as part of the Holiday Shopping for Kids event kids awaiting adoption are brought downtown for what they're told is a meal and a possible chance to meet members of the Timberwolves organization.

But after Crunch energized the room with high-fives, photos and autographs, team president Chris Wright let the kids in on the secret.

The smiles on the kids' faces told the story.

"For a minute I didn't believe it, until I actually came down and I was like, 'Fancy restaurant, maybe,' " Craig said. "Then I saw crunch and I said, 'That capitalized it. We're meeting them.' "

In September, there were 823 kids in Minnesota under state guardianship and 339 are in need of immediate adoption, according to the Minnesota Department of Humans Services. MN Adopt Metro Outreach Specialist Lorenzo Davis said a day like this could be the highlight of their year.

"The main objective today is for them to look up to someone and see this guy really cares about me," Davis said. "Not only that but he's somebody that I really look up to. He's one of my heroes, one of my role models."

The kids paired off with their NBA counterparts and hit the Target aisles. Beasley, Kevin Love, Derrick Williams, JJ Barea and Darko Milicic highlighted the roster on hand, and each found different ways to help their kids on their shopping sprees. Clothes, watches, Xboxes and CDs were snatched from shelves throughout the store.

Love's shopping buddy went on a mission to find binoculars. Beasley's went straight to the electronics section. The kids were told to use the gift card for clothes and accessories as well as toys, but some had other ideas.

Fifteen-year-old Damon said his wish list included presents for his aunt, uncle and siblings. It was a chance for him to give during the holiday season, too.

"It made me feel proud, and it surprised me a little bit," Damon said.

Davis said having the Timberwolves part of the kids' special day gives them a sense of family.
"Who better to know what a family means?" Davis said. "You're on a basketball team working to win games. You are a close knit family and you have somebody to rely on, and they are able to pass that on to our kids."

Beasley said his favorite part was seeing the smiles on the kids' faces.

"That’s what it’s all about," Beasley said. "It’s the season of giving, and I know these kids definitely have a lot to look forward to.”

The kids, some so excited they carried merchandise in their hands and not in a shopping cart, couldn't help but enjoy the moment. With their idols on hand, they experienced a holiday season to remember.

"It's definitely fun," Beasley said. "It's still unbelievable to me that they get excited to see us and get excited to see me. It's great giving back to the community. It's heart-warming."

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