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Lonnie Walker IV and Rudy Gay dropped in on The Children’s Shelter holiday carnival

Community sponsors band together to give kids a wonderful holiday celebration.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at San Antonio Spurs Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Last Wednesday, Rudy Gay and Lonnie Walker IV made a surprise appearance at the 13th annual Basso & Friends Christmas Carnival at The Children’s Shelter in San Antonio.

We’re here giving back. The whole organization has been great at giving back to the community and we want to continue to do that, this is a big part of that.” - Rudy Gay

They were joined by The Coyote, the Spurs Hype Squad, HEB, Cheesy Jane’s, and other community businesses in bringing the North Pole to San Antonio with a petting zoo, pony rides, carnival games, a food truck, and a visit from Santa.

The yearly bash is sponsored by HEB’s Cory Basso who joined with his friends – after receiving letters to Santa from The Children’s Shelter – to donate $15,000 in gifts and gift cards to the 63 children and 30 staff members.

Mr. Basso shared his thoughts about what makes this event so special.

This is one of my favorite times of the year. I’ve been doing a party for The Children’s Shelter for over ten years now. We give out anywhere from fifteen to twenty thousand dollars of worth of gifts and gift cards. There’s tons of games and a petty zoo outside. So we’re excited about it.

Basso and his friends are the actual organizers, this is not an underwritten business contribution. His dedication and enthusiasm for this group is palpable.

We do this every year. We’ve also built a thirty-two seat movie theater here for the kids. Put in a sport court. Helping those in need is a big passion of mine. They are the cutest, nicest kids you have ever seen, and it’s too bad that they’re not able to spend the holidays with their families, so we try to bring them a little joy every year.

India Chumney, Chief Development Officer has been with for The Children’s Shelter for seven years and can testify to the need of these types of events.

Working with our children is an amazing privilege, to be able to serve kids that have really been dealt a bitter hand. They come from pretty hard places. We have community members like Mr. Basso that really care about out kids and the Spurs Organization has really gotten behind this party and every year we have this Christmas Carnival so that the children that are here in our care have a wonderful Christmas.

The Children’s Shelter supports 4600 children a year and can house sixty-six kids from newborns to sixteen-year-olds. The Whataburger campus can also house twenty-nine children up to age twenty-two.

For these children, The Children’s Shelter is their home for three month. All the children with the organization have been removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect. A staff of 368 and an additional 188 volunteers support the children during their time at the shelter.

The Children’s Shelter takes donations and can always use voluntary support.

Money is great, one of the things this time of year we appreciate is gift cards to local restaurants, local places we can take our children for outings. We try to bring as much normalcy as we can. It’s not normal for children not to be home at Christmas and they are off school for two weeks so it’s really important that during that two week period active and busy.

Lonnie Walker IV, who has heard his calling and does a lot of community outreach in San Antonio as well as his native Reading, PA described how the event “shows the bigger picture in life. Little gestures and doing good things go a long way for others. It’s bigger than basketball, it’s bigger than what we do.”

If you have not made your annual holiday contribution, I’d highly recommend The Children’s Shelter make your list. They do amazing work and the bright eyes of the young recipients reflected the appreciation of holiday cheer many people made happen for them.

About The Children’s Shelter

The mission of The Children’s Shelter is to restore innocence and strengthen families. Last year, The Children’s Shelter provided a continuum of Trauma-Informed Care through a comprehensive family of services for more than 6,000 children, youth, and families. For more information, visit

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