Plymouth brothers raise money for Ukrainian refugees by shooting hoops

Basketball is one of 12-year-old Nathaniel and 10-year-old Benjamin Mendoza's favorite sports. 

"I love that you move around a lot because I really like to move around," said Benjamin, who is a 4th grader at Scenic Heights Elementary School in Minnetonka. 

But over the last week, the conversations they have had as a family at the dinner table haven't been about what is happening on the court. 

Their mom, Aneta, is originally from the city of Jastrzebie Zdroj in Poland, which is preparing to receive about 200 Ukrainian refugee families. 

"This sparks a lot of discussions at our dinner table about what would you do? And how can you put yourself in this situation?" Aneta told FOX 9. 

After learning about this, the boys told their mom they wanted to help. 

"She asked, 'What are we good at?' And (we) thought basketball!" Benjamin said. 

A 10-day fundraising challenge has been born and shared on social media, selling basketball shots to raise money for Ukraine: $1for free throws and $3 for three-pointers.

From there, a 10-day fundraising challenge was born and shared on social media, selling basketball shots to raise money for Ukraine: $1for free throws and $3 for three-point shots. 

So far, they have raised nearly $9,000 to send to Aneta's hometown to help refugee families there. 

"I've never seen a community come so close together and so quickly; I mean, it's been five days!" Aneta said. 

Her sons have created a team of friends who will take all the basketball shots that people have sponsored together at an event next weekend. 

The challenge has grown to include more than 40 kids from across the world in places like Puerto Rico and Romania. 

The original group in Plymouth is also hoping the Minnesota Timberwolves will join in before the 10-day challenge is over. 

Aneta tells FOX 9 they are collecting donation of free throws or three-point shots through the Venmo account @threepointersforUkraine. 

People can also donate new, unused newborn through youth clothing or write a card to one of the kids who will be arriving in Jastrzebie Zdroj. If you would like to arrange a donation, you can email

Aneta directly at