MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The holidays can be a difficult time for many children who don’t have a permanent home.

So today the Minnesota Timberwolves had a surprise for some foster children to make their holiday brighter.

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The players surprised 23 children waiting to be adopted with a shopping spree at Target. The kids got to pick out their gifts with their favorite players at the downtown store.

As kids ages 6 to 16 chowed down at Seven Steakhouse — they thought they were just getting a nice meal. All of them are foster children with MN ADOPT.

“They’re just fabulous kids,” Adoption Coordinator Wendylee Raun said. “We do everything we can to find them permanent loving families.”

But there was surprise in store for them — all of the children were getting $500 to spend on their Christmas wish lists, and to help them pick out their gifts down the street at Target were 11 Minnesota Timwerwolves.

“It’s amazing to mostly just give these kids some family time,” Timberwolves rookie Karl-Anthony Towns said. “Family time that they don’t, a lot of times, have.”

It was their time to pick out toys, games, and clothes.

“I thought we were just going to get a meal,” one child said. “I didn’t think we were getting $500 and all this.”

Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio requests to be part of the annual event every year.

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“It’s something special,” he said. “It’s something you can’t buy. Something that will melt your heart.”

Their presence was not overlooked by the young kids on their special day.

“They’re not just going about their day to day life,” one child said. “They still think about us and want to help us.”

For the Timberwolves, it was a day to give back.

“Put a smile on their face,” Timberwolves rookie and native Minnesotan Tyus Jones said. “That’s what the holidays are about.”

For these kids, it’s a day that will make their Christmas brighter, and a memory they’ll have for a lifetime.

“This part of it isn’t a job,” Raun said. “It’s a treat to put something like this together and bring this much joy to kids.”

This is the 11th year that the Timberwolves have done this surprise shopping spree.

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If you’d like to learn more about MN ADOPT, or the children up for adoption, visit their website.

Kate Raddatz