MINNEAPOLIS — Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn knows the importance of a good night's sleep.
He's also aware of how crucial it is for kids.
"I take my sleep very seriously. I'm not a night owl; if I don't get my sleep, you're going to be able to tell," Osborn said. "To be able to emphasize that to the kids this early, help them grow up big and strong, be their best in school and whatever they pursue is super important."
Last week, Osborn, long snapper Andrew DePaola, linebackers Eric Kendricks and William Kwenkeu, kicker Greg Joseph and punter Ryan Wright joined My Very Own Bed and U.S. Bank to surprise 50 local kids at U.S. Bank Stadium with Sleep Number 360 smart beds, bedding and pillows.
"It really is special," My Very Own Bed Founder and Executive Director Michael Allen said. "It's not about My Very Own Bed; it's about these kids, and it's an honor to be here and to have these kids all here and get their very own beds. There's so much effort that's been into this event. I'd just like to thank the Minnesota Vikings, U.S. Bank and Sleep Number who we are proud partners of, so thank you to all of them."
Started by Allen in 2014, My Very Own Bed is a nonprofit that provides new beds to youth ages 2 to 17 who are moving into stable housing in the Twin Cities area and its suburbs.
"We have provided over 5,000 beds and dream kits, the bedding items, to kids here in the Twin Cities," Allen said. "Our goal this year is to provide 1,400 beds and dream kits, and I can proudly say that we have already surpassed that goal and will provide closer to 1,600 beds this year to kids in the Twin Cities."
View photos of Vikings players as they surprise youth in the Twin Cities with new Sleep Number 360 Smart Beds at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Prior to the surprise, the players were able to take the kids on a tour of the Vikings locker room.
"We showed them around, I got to point out my locker and they thought that was amazing," DePaola said. "They were like, 'That's yours? That's you?' And I was like, 'This is me. This is mine.' That was really neat, just to kind of see their faces and then again with them not even knowing what was behind the second door was just pretty amazing."
After the tour, the children were brought to the field, where the new beds awaited them.
Kwenkeu said it was incredible to see the reaction from the youth.
"Seeing joy in these little kids' eyes, just running around on the field, it's pretty awesome," Kwenkeu said. "I have no words for it; this is amazing just being able to give back this way in the surprise fashion."
Joseph added it's always important to give back and it was special to be able to give the kids an experience they'll never forget.
"We get to do that on a weekly basis, so for them to just get a little peek into our lifestyle, it's cool," Joseph said. "Any time I can help and hopefully make a little difference in one kid's life, [that's] more than enough for me."
Cam Bynum helps host 'Holiday Halftime' for Twin Cities teachers
Vikings safety Cam Bynum made the win-sealing play for Minnesota against the Jets Sunday.
But before that, he showed up in a big way for Twin Cities teachers. Bynum on Thursday helped host a Kids In Need Foundation Teacher Resource Center Holiday Halftime.
The event included more than 100 teachers from under-resourced schools. In its second year, Kids In Need Foundation's HALFTIME initiative will raise support and supplies for students and their teachers nationwide as they prepare for the second half of the 2022-23 school year.
Bynum helped hand out gifts for the invited teachers, as well as school supplies and learning resources. In addition to classroom supplies such as core learning tools, supply kits and disinfectant wipes, teachers received individual gift cards, as well.
Since 1995, KINF has provided school supplies and learning resources needed to level the playing field. It is the only nonprofit focusing its efforts solely on the country's most underserved schools – those with an enrollment of 70 percent or more participating in the National School Lunch Program.
For more information on how to support equitable learning environments through the Kids In Need Foundation, click here.