Elementary School Basketball Players Fundraise for Ukraine


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At just 10 and 12 years old, two young basketball players from Minnesota are using their passion for basketball to fundraise for Ukraine. According to FOX 9, the two brothers, Nathaniel and Benjamin Mendoza, wanted to do something to help Ukrainians since learning about their desperate circumstances after Russia’s invasion. They decided to start a 10-day fundraising challenge where they sell basketball shots to raise money for Ukraine with a sponsorship donation of $1 for free throws and $3 for three-point shots. The effort has united their community, and even spread to others, as donations began pouring in. 

Aneta Mendoza, the mother of the two boys who started the campaign, grew up in Jastrzębie-Zdrój, Poland in an area that is preparing to welcome around 200 Ukrainian refugee families. Aneta shared that her family’s discussions at the dinner table were about how they could help. Thinking about what they were good at, the boys got the idea to rally their community to sponsor basketball shots for their team of friends. 

The Mendoza’s plan to raise money for Ukraine has proven successful as they have raised nearly $9,000 to send to Aneta’s hometown in Poland, all of which will be used to aid the refugee families. The young basketball players are hoping to increase their fundraising success by getting support from the Minnesota Timberwolves of the NBA before the end of their 10-day challenge. In addition to donating money to sponsor basketball shots, Aneta shared that people can also donate “new, unused newborn through youth clothing or write a card to one of the kids who will be arriving in Jastrzębie-Zdrój.”

With the heartbreaking circumstances Ukrainians are facing, people of all ages across the world are united in their support and commitment to helping them survive. Even children as young as the Mendoza brothers and their friends are making a difference for Ukrainians, and their idea to raise money by sponsoring basketball shots has even grown to include over 40 kids from places around the world such as Puerto Rico and Romania. Their efforts are undoubtedly an inspiration to all who wish to reach out and help Ukrainian families as they have proven that children can make an impact as they send aid to people in need. 


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