Have you ever got a piggyback ride from an NFL linebacker for charity? Chargers outside linebacker Colton Underwood to gave a generous donor a piggyback ride around the room, at The 15th annual STAR/PAL Celebrity, for a donation. Underwood, as well as, other Charger, Padres players, and San Diego Police officers served as fundraising superheroes to the hundreds in attendance.
The STAR/PAL Celebrity Waiter Luncheon annually and support the efforts to raise over $150,000 to provide services to underserved and at-risk children in San Diego.
The Superheros working for tips included San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman and her crew, Keenan Allen, Craig Watts, Colton Underwood, Anthony Richardson, Padres: Justin Upton, Yonder Alonso, Wil Nieves, Corey Spratanburg, and Clint Barmes.
Attendees made donations for autographs, photos taken with a Padres or Chargers player, being served lunch by a police officer, firefighter, city official, athlete, SWAT team member or coach at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation.
“We have ten thousand youth services all over the county and they are all free. The way we keep them free is we have these types of fundraisers,” said the San Diego Police Officer Carlos Santiago.
The generosity of the attendees was evident when a lady in the audience bid $3,700 to get five to get VIP ticket package to a Charger game. Having Chargers Underwood there to persuade her may have also helped.
Having wide receiver, Keenan Allen and Sheriff Zimmerman talking about the city of San Diego may have been an epic highlight but the real mission of the STAR/PAL event was to raise awareness for the underserved youth. STAR/PAL has done a outstanding job engaging with law enforcement and collaborative partners to build a safer and more prosperous neighborhood.
The Charger and Padres are just two examples of valuable collaborative partners and volunteer their time year round with athletic skills training camps, leadership development, healthy lifestyles, and violence prevention programs.
Here’s what some of the top players and police officers told Pro Player Insiders, Theresa Villano, about supporting STAR/PALs community impacts
Yonder Alonso, San Diego Padres · First Base
“It has been an honor to be a part of this event for many years.” He goes on to say more of his gratefulness for STAR/PAL ‘s Meaning to Yonder Alonso in Spanish in the link provided.
Clint Barmes, San Diego Padres · Shortstop
” It’s great to be here and it’s great to be able to give back. San Diego and the Padres organization is so good at giving back to the community. It’s great for us to get these opportunities to help in any way that we can.”
San Diego Police officer, Ruben Gutierrez
“Having officers here in addition to the San Diego Chargers and Padres players is very important because these are the kids that we see in the neighborhoods. There’s not a lot of time to stop and talk to the kids in the neighborhood so this is one of the ways we give back. The officers volunteer and are more hands-on with the kids and participate in our leadership programs.”
Justin Upton, San Diego Padres · Left Fielder
“This is my first year in San Diego but being a part of kicking off the Padres Volunteer team, I’m starting to get my feet wet and this is my first event. There’s a certain responsibility given with the talent given on the field and the opportunities we’ve been given to go out and help people in need and help the community that supports us and what we do. I am glad to help.”
PPI STAR/PAL Superhero Gallery at Joe and Vi Community Center: PHOTO CREDITS: Joemar McLeod
For information on this San Diego organization visit http://www.starpal.org/.
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