Jayhawks spread cheer with annual shopping trip
LAWRENCE, Kan. – As the holiday season draws near and the Arizona State game sits three days away, the Kansas men’s basketball team took advantage of the chance to go holiday shopping for Lawrence area families Wednesday night.
All 15 players were joined by head coach Bill Self, his coaching staff, student managers, family members and friends as they assembled at a local Wal-Mart to find “Wish List” gifts for 16 total families. Former KU standout Roger Morningstar, and his wife Linda, began the tradition in the early 1990s and they continue to work with the Salvation Army of Douglas County in organizing the annual event, now in its 22nd year.
“The guys all really enjoy this,” said Self. “It’s such a good cause and certainly during this time of year, we have so many things to feel blessed about. It’s so nice to be able to do something for others.”
Team-bonding and community-involvement rolled into one tradition, the Jayhawk shoppers met in the store lobby before Morningstar gave each player a list of gifts for a specific family and a budget in which to maintain. The players, along with coaches’ wives and other shopping cohorts, then broke loose throughout the store.
Gifts ranged from every member of the family, including pots and pans, tool sets, coats, blankets and – of course – toys. Players had a blast finding the best superheroes and picking out the perfect pair of shoes. Even a pink guitar made it into a cart.
As each list was completed, the present hunters brought their loot to the registers to have it rang up and loaded on the truck that will soon deliver it to each family. The smiles on the faces of each player was a telling sign of the pride felt to have spent the evening with a worthy cause.
Kansas travels to Tempe, Ariz. to meet Arizona State Saturday, Dec. 22 at Wells Fargo Arena. Tip-off is slated for 8 p.m. (CT) on ESPN2.
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