Jayhawks enjoy annual holiday shopping for Lawrence families

Landen Lucas picks out the perfect gift.LAWRENCE, Kan. – The grocery carts were once again overstuffed with toys, clothes, tools and appliances as the Kansas men’s basketball team participated in its annual holiday shopping for Lawrence area families Thursday evening at Wal-Mart.
For the 20th-straight year, former KU player Roger Morningstar worked with the Salvation Army to garner as many families as there are KU players. Each family submits lists of what they want for Christmas and it is then up to the KU players, with assistance from coaches’ wives, staff and store personnel, to complete the wish list within a set budget. Funding for this year’s 15 families is sponsored in part by head coach Bill Self’s Assists Foundation and other local charities and fundraisers.
“This is a lot of fun for our guys and for our program,” assistant coach Norm Roberts said as he participated in his sixth holiday shopping event while at KU. “Our guys look forward to this every year. They actually take it extremely seriously. They all want to do a good job and make these families as happy as possible.”
Like in the past, Morningstar gathered the team near the front of the store and distributed each student-athlete with wish lists supplied by the families. The players then grabbed one or more carts and headed throughout the store, shopping and stopping to take photos with other Wal-Mart patrons during their excursion. The full carts then hit the checkout line with the many items. After, the gifts were loaded and headed to the Salvation Army to make some Lawrence area families Christmas that much better.
“We want to do whatever we can to make people happy around us and everyone live a happy life,” senior guard Frank Mason III said. “It’s always great to see kids and families smile. If we can do that by shopping and getting them things for Christmas, then we would love to do that.”
No. 3/3 Kansas (9-1) will next play host to Davidson (5-3) in the Jayhawk Shootout presented by Shawnee Mission Health Saturday, Dec. 17, at 6 p.m. at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. The contest will be televised on ESPN2.
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