Jayhawks Holiday Shop for Needy Families

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Decked out in KU holiday sweaters, the Kansas men’s basketball team took a break from final exams Wednesday evening to participate in the team’s annual shopping trip for Lawrence-area families at Wal Mart.
Coordinated by former KU men’s basketball standout Roger Morningstar, all 16 KU men’s basketball players participated in the shopping which took just over an hour. Morningstar gives each player a family to shop for with a budget. The players then hit the store with assistance from the men’s hoops staff, coaches’ wives and Wal Mart personnel. Morningstar works closely with the Salvation Army in finding the needy families and the event is funded by KU head coach Bill Self’s Assists Foundation, the Rock Chalk Roundball Classic organization and a grant from Wal Mart.
“I’m shopping for a family of four, mostly the kids who are real little – toys and teddy bears,” said KU senior forward Jamari Traylor looking over the list supplied by Morningstar. “I’m just happy to go out here and do something positive for someone else. Anytime we can come out here and put a smile on other people’s faces, it’s an amazing feeling.”
Normally, the annual holiday shopping trip is scheduled for the Thursday of exam week knowing most of the final exams have been completed. But this year Self moved it up a day so the Jayhawks could watch the KU volleyball team compete in the NCAA semifinals in Omaha, Nebraska on Dec. 17 at approximately 8:30 p.m. (Central) on ESPN2. KU will take on Nebraska.
“Our guys look forward to this,” Self said of the annual shopping trip. “To have a family’s wish list, a budget and go out and try to shop smart and make somebody else’s Christmas is pretty special to our guys. We’re all so fortunate and blessed but there is a lot of people out there struggling, especially this time of year. Anything our guys can do, I know gives them a great pride in doing it.”
KU will take on Montana on Dec. 19 at 1 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse. The game will be televised on Jayhawk TV/ESPN3.
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