Minnetonka student launches basketball fundraiser for Ukrainian refugees

Images on television of displaced Ukrainian families are what inspired Scenic Heights Elementary student Benjamin Mendoza to try and help refugees.

His mother is from Poland, and when he learned the town where she grew up was preparing for hundreds of refugees, he wanted to take action.

“My brother and I came up with basketball because that’s what we are good at,” Benjamin said.

They launched a fundraiser, selling free throws for a dollar and 3-point shots for $3. The idea spread quickly in their local community — and beyond. Kids from Romania to Puerto Rico snapped photos of themselves taking “3-Pointers for Ukraine.”

When Benjamin and his brother Nathaniel started out, their goal was to raise $500. As of Monday, they are close to raising $30,000.

“It makes me feel really good because it makes me feel like there is a lot of kindness in the world … and that even kids can help,” Benjamin said.

If you would like to be involved, contact anetabrzoza@gmail.com.