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Pacers Haliburton, Toppin give back to the far eastside just in time for the holidays

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December is a time for giving, and Pacers stars Tyrese Haliburton and Obi Toppin took that message to heart this year by teaming up with local organizations and school to give back to Hoosiers for the holidays.

Haliburton treated the kids to a pre-shopping spree feast at Buffalo Wild Wings on Dec. 19. After dinner, Haliburton led the group to Academy Sports + Outdoors, a sporting goods store, nearby. Armed with $300 gift cards, backpacks and enthusiasm, the kids plunged into the store. Pacers jerseys, sneakers, basketballs, and winter coats flew off the shelves as the youngsters ticked items off their wish lists.

Haliburton made time to chat with each student, asking about their favorite sports, school life, and dreams. The Pacers point guard signed autographs, posed for photos and offered words of motivation, reminding them that anything is possible with hard work and commitment.

“The best part of this is the smiles I get to see on kids’ faces,” Haliburton said after the charity event.

Haliburton surprised CAFÉ with 100 tickets to the Pacers’ game against the Orlando Magic on Dec. 23.

Fellow Indiana Pacers star Obi Toppin visited Brook Park Elementary School, just a few hours earlier on Dec 19. Partnering with CareSource, Toppin brought the festive spirit directly to the students, showering them with gifts and valuable lessons about healthy habits.

The day started with a surprise: Toppin and his team gifted Kroger vouchers for every family at the school. Ensuring everyone had a delicious holiday meal was just the appetizer (pun intended.) Toppin, an advocate for an active lifestyle, also gifted every child warm winter apparel to promote outdoor play during the Winter months.

A few Brook Park Elementary students during the philanthropic event sponsored by Pacers Obi Toppin and CareSource on Dec. 19. (Photo/David Dixon)

Toppin joined the students for an afternoon of fun activities that emphasized the importance of staying active and making healthy choices. Students chased each other with silly string, participated in impromptu dance-offs, and even got a few pointers on dribbling a basketball from the NBA pro himself.

More than just a day of fun and games, Toppin’s visit left a lasting impression on the Brook Park Elementary community. Toppin’s genuine interaction with the students, his inspiring message about healthy living and his generous acts of kindness served as a reminder that the holiday spirit extends far beyond presents and ornaments.

Both Haliburton and Toppin showcased the immense power of athletes to reach outside the court and touch the lives of those around them.

“They [The kids] were so engaged,” Toppin said following the event. “I think it’s going to make a lasting difference on everyone.”

Contact multimedia staff writer Noral Parham III at 317-762-7846. Follow him on Twitter @3Noral. For more news courtesy of the Indianapolis Recorder, click here.

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