Jayhawks Make Holiday Wishes Come True

Dec. 14, 2010

121410aaa_698_4417791.jpegIt wasn’t quite a lane to the basket, but the check-out lane is where members from the KU women’s basketball team found themselves Friday afternoon. With help from the Salvation Army, the Jayhawks adopted two Douglas County families to shop for Christmas gifts, who otherwise wouldn’t be able to hit the aisles themselves.

“It’s a real humbling experience,” said sophomore Monica Engleman. “We were able to make some family’s holiday wishes come true.”

From clothes to toys and stuffed animals, the Jayhawks were busy stuffing their shopping carts with holiday cheer at a Lawrence Wal-Mart.

“Some of us really got into it,” said Engelman. “Carolyn (Davis) had all these dolls in her arms and was asking us, `what should I get? What should I get?'”

For Jayhawk head coach Bonnie Henrickson this is something she looks forward to her team taking part in each and every holiday season.

“It’s an opportunity for us to give back,” said Henrickson. “It’s exciting when you get the families with a lot of little kids because the players love to shop for the dolls and the boys’ toys.”

121410aaa_698_4417790.jpeg“We got this big truck for one little boy,” said freshman Keena Mays. “I actually thought it was pretty neat and I was playing with it the whole time.”

While the shopping spree did spread some holiday cheer, some players looked at it as a good team bonding opportunity.

“It was a great thing for us to do together off the court,” said Engelman. “Sometimes it’s nice for us to be able to do something together that doesn’t involve basketball.”

Through the Jayhawks’ efforts, the team bought ten people in two different families each a new outfit along with a gift or toy. The team also purchased a gift card for the families to use for a special holiday meal.

“It means a lot to the team,” said Henrickson. “All of us have been there and all of us want to help. It’s really fortunate for us to be able to help people in this area.”

“It’s always great to give back,” added Mays.”Whether it’s helping out needy families or just playing our game out on the court, it’s really great giving back to the community.”