Timberwolves

Timberwolves Holiday Shopping For Kids Event Puts A Smile On The Face Of Everyone Involved

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager

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There aren’t many events in which everyone involved feels fulfilled. 

The Timberwolves Holiday Shopping for Kids event is one of those rare events.

On Tuesday, Dec. 17, the Timberwolves, in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities, hosted the 2019-20 Jr. Pack as part of their annual Pack Gives Back Holiday Shopping For Kids event.  

The 15 Jr. Pack members took a ride on Crunch’s Holiday Bus, not knowing what the rest of the evening entailed. It was there when coach Ryan Saunders surprised the kids, telling them that each of them would receive a $500 Target shopping spree at the Knollwood Target store. The kids were then paired with a Timberwolves player or coach — another surprise. 

This wasn’t Saunders' first time at the event, but it’s something that he looks forward to year after year. 

“All the time,” Saunders said when asked if this was an event he looks forward to. “You like to see people appreciate things. The kids were surprised. They had no idea the players were going to be here. They didn’t even know that we were coming to Target. Being able to get on that bus and see their excitement . . . it’s something that just puts a smile on your face.”

Watching the children shop with the players brings joy from afar, but also makes you realize quickly how empathic these children are. There are the necessities to shop for, such as a jacket or winter clothes. And then there are the guilty pleasures, such as a video game system or toys. But then there are the gifts for others. Whether that’s a jacket for a sibling, jewelry for mom or a thoughtful gift for dad. It would be easy for these children to focus on themselves, but it says more about them that they don’t. That’s a type of characteristic that can’t be bought on a shopping spree.

Along with the $500 shopping spree, the team’s corporate partners got in on the fun. Fitbit Inspire™ fitness trackers were provided for each kid to gift their Bigs and help them stay motivated through the holiday season. Each child received a 40-inch TCL Roku TV. Target also supplied an additional $500 Target gift card to the families of each child.

Along with that, the Roger and Nancy McCabe Foundation – which has been a staple of the Timberwolves’ giving efforts over the years – surprised each Pack member’s family with a $500 Hy-Vee gas gift card.

“This is our favorite event because you saw the kids, how surprised they were,” Roger McCabe said. “We really enjoy it.”

“The players get it, too,” Nancy McCabe continued. “It’s wonderful what they’re doing. . . It’s meaningful to us and we’re fortunate we’re able to do this as well.” 

Andrew Wiggins has been part of this event since 2014, but now that Wiggins has a child of his own, this event has a different perspective for him. 

“Being a father, I want to give my daughter the world,” Wiggins said. “So, to be able to help other kids and get them something that puts a smile on their face (if they get something) whether it’s for them, their sisters, their brothers or mother, whatever it is to put a smile on their face, that makes it all worth it.”

It wasn’t the first time the Timberwolves have done this event and it likely won’t be the last. But that doesn’t take anything away just how special and impactful it was for everyone involved.  

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