Minnesota Vikings players deliver Christmas joy to Twin Cities families

Dec 22, 2021

The Minnesota Vikings are delivering joy to local families in need this Christmas season.

Earlier this week, seven families received Christmas gifts from wide receiver Adam Thielen and wife Caitlin of the Thielen Foundation, along with these Vikings players and their better halves: 

  • Linebacker Eric Kendricks and fiancé Ally Courtnall
  • Fullback C.J. Ham and wife Stephanie
  • Offensive lineman Garrett Bradbury and wife Carson
  • Linebacker Nick Vigil and wife Savannah
  • Offensive lineman Dakota Dozier and wife Haley
  • Long snapper Andrew DePaola and wife Amy

One of the families to receive gifts was a grandmother named Nadine (pictured) and her six grandchildren, ages 2, 3, 4, 6, 12, and 14. Nadine took custody of the kids two months ago after their mother abandoned them.  

“I couldn’t turn my grandkids away – I love them,” Nadine said. “The kids would all be separated in foster care and I don’t want them to be out there all alone.”

Caring for the children has not been easy for Nadine. Her only source of income is her disability benefit from social security, which isn’t enough to provide the children all they need. She regularly receives food and clothing from The Salvation Army and other local churches.      

“The kids have nothing, and it’s chaos all the time,” Nadine said. “I am doing the best I can with what I have.”

Given how little Nadine and her grandkids have, the gifts they received from the Vikings are life-changing. The Vikings gave an abundance of new clothes, shoes, coats, diapers, and other practical items, along with toys to brighten the kids’ spirits. 

“My grandkids have never had anything their entire lives,” Nadine said, with tears in her eyes. “I appreciate everything the Vikings did for our family.”

The Vikings partner with The Salvation Army every Christmas season to bless local families. In addition, the Thielens have sponsored five families during each of the past five Christmases and – prior to the pandemic – hosted private Christmas parties for them (read story and see photos of past events). 

“It means a lot to our family to give back,” said Adam Thielen, who is pictured at a 2019 Christmas party he and Caitlin hosted at Mall of America. “We’re trying to bring joy to families who might not have a lot to be joyful about right now. Hopefully it has a trickle-down effect that makes other people want to pay it forward.”

You can do something good this holiday season by donating to The Salvation Army, volunteering, or ringing bells at a Red Kettle. Your help will provide food, shelter and care for local families in need. Because of you, Hope Marches On

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