Fever, Pacers Partner With JAKKS for Toy Giveaway
Fever Basketball.com Staff | December 10, 2013
The Fever and the Pacers partnered with JAKKS Pacific and the Indiana National Guard to donate toys to 50 deserving Central Indiana community organizations and underprivileged children for the fourth straight year. This year, the partnership will give away over 30,000 toys to children across the state.
PHOTOS: Toy Giveaway »
The announcement was made Monday, Dec. 9 at Stout Field, home of the Indiana National Guard. Numerous representatives from the Fever, Pacers, JAKKS, and the National Guard were in attendance. Fever head coach Lin Dunn and star player and Indiana native Katie Douglas helped hand out toys to children in attendance and participated in a "Human Line of Joy" loading trucks with toys to be distributed throughout central Indiana.
"As a member of the Pacers Sports & Entertainment group, in particular the Fever, we're honored to be a part of this," Dunn said. "It's just such an enormous event, to think that we can be a part of giving so much joy and happiness to these young kids."
Other dignitaries on hand included Fever and Pacers owner Herb Simon; Stephen Berman, the President and CEO of JAKKS Pacific, Inc.; Pacers Sports & Entertainment President Jim Morris; Indiana National Guard Brigadier General Brian Copes from Shelbyville; Pacers head coach Frank Vogel; and Pacers players Roy Hibbert, Orlando Johnson, and C.J. Watson.
“The NBA has NBA Cares program where all the teams give back to their community,” said Fever and Pacers owner Herb Simon. “We think we do it as well, if not better, than everybody. And we really owe our being here to the community, so why not support them also.”
Berman, good friends with Simon, returned to Indiana from his base in California to personally help distribute some of the toys to children.
“He was not happy just sending us toys,” Simon explained. “He said, ‘Herb, I really want to see the joy on the faces of the children as we give out toys.’”
“To give is very easy,” said Berman, whose company has donated over $50 million to help underprivileged children around the world. “But to get the hands in the correct hands of individuals, and organizations is quite difficult … and they’ve done the best job that I’ve ever seen.”
Dunn seemed particularly moved by Berman's gesture, calling him "really special" and even giving him a kiss on the cheek during the press conference. Douglas, meanwhile, took special joy in interacting with the kids on hand, joking with them and smiling wide as she handed them presents.
As usual, the Fever are leaving their mark on the community this holiday season. Douglas and associate head coach Stephanie White helped served food to the less fortunate at last month's "Come to Our House" Thanksgiving Dinner at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Later his week, Dunn, Douglas, and guard Jeanette Pohlen are scheduled to take part in a shoe giveaway at a local IPS school.