A kindergartner at Benjamin Franklin School stretched out his arms and said, “This is my favorite color!” He was trying on his new blue coat, one of the hundreds of coats given to Franklin students on Monday, December 11, 2023. The coats were gifts from Milwaukee Bucks forward and NBA All- Star Khris Middleton and partner United Healthcare of Wisconsin. Franklin School students, who range from K3 Head Start through 8th grade, applauded visitors in the school auditorium before choosing their coats. They gave the loudest welcome to Middleton, who helped the Bucks win the NBA championship in 2021, the same year he won an Olympic gold medal.
They shrieked when he stepped onto the stage. There, Middleton joined United Healthcare of Wisconsin CEO Dustin Hinton, Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) Superintendent Dr. Keith P. Posley, state Representative Kalan Haywood, Milwaukee Board of School Directors member Darryl Jackson, and Franklin Principal Angela Fleming. State Senator LaTonya Johnson also attended the event.
A group of students waved to Middleton, and he smiled and waved back from the stage. After leaving the stage, he met with students, posed for pictures and signed autographs.
About a dozen volunteers — all United Healthcare employees — and MPS staff members helped the children pick out and try on coats, and Middleton joined in.
United Healthcare funded the purchase of the new coats with a $20,000 grant to the Dreambuilders Foundation, which helps pro athletes provide gifts and other items to children.
Middleton delivered some of the gift bags for Franklin’s educators before leaving for practice with the Bucks.
This is the fifth year of the ’12 Days of Khrismas’, when Middleton takes part in a dozen acts of service in Wisconsin, Louisiana, and South Carolina, his home state. It’s the first time 12 Days of Khrismas has visited Benjamin Franklin School, located at 2308 W. Nash St., on Milwaukee’s northside.