Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen hosts Christmas party for five families
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen and his wife Caitlin on Dec. 19 provided a Christmas blessing for five families served by The Salvation Army on behalf of the Thielen Foundation. (View photos.)
The fun took place at Scheels in Eden Prairie, where the families enjoyed dinner courtesy of Chick-fil-A before Adam, Caitlin and their children handed out Christmas presents.
All five families are enrolled in a Salvation Army mentoring program called Pathway of Hope, which recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary.
One of the families included single mother Shalonda and her 7-year-old daughter. (She also has two teenage boys who couldn’t come to the party.)
Shalonda is living through tough times right now. Her oldest son lives with Chrone’s disease and requires lots of extra care.
“He is in pain 75 percent of the time – it’s very challenging for all of us,” said Shalonda (pictured below), who recently secured a full-time job but struggles to balance work, parenting, and caring for her son. She is also grieving the loss of her brother and sister, both of whom died unexpectedly last year.
Despite her hardships, Shalonda has a grateful heart and remains optimistic.
“I wake up every morning thankful that I have a job to go to, and roof to put over our heads, and food,” she said. “Everybody should be grateful for the small things in life.”
She is thankful for the Christmas presents that she and her kids received from Adam and Caitlin.
“This helps a lot – I’ve been working my butt off to buy Christmas presents and pay our bills,” Shalonda said. “I can’t wait to go home and tell my boys, ‘Guess who gave you all these presents?’”
In addition to the toys, games, clothes, and other gifts that the Thielens provided, each family received a $500 gift card to Scheels; $500 courtesy of Jonathan Goodrich, president of Minnesota sports memorabilia company Elite Ink; free passes to Valleyfair; free tickets to the Vikings’ upcoming home game vs. the New York Giants; and more.
This is the sixth year in a row that the Thielens have hosted a Christmas party for families served by The Salvation Army, on behalf of the Thielen Foundation.
“This is one of our favorite events we do to bring joy to families over Christmas,” Adam Thielen said. “This is a time that means a lot to our family. The presents are a bonus, but to have these families around and show them that somebody cares is why we do it.”
This holiday season, The Salvation Army is calling on all of our supporters to Love Beyond. #LoveBeyond is a national Salvation Army campaign that encourages people to put love above all else, in order to show families in need that love exists beyond their most difficult situations – be it hunger, overdue bills, eviction, addiction, and other hardships. Join us by giving to our $1 Million Community Challenge Match, signing up to volunteer, or ringing bells at a Red Kettle.