Sandoval surprises shoppers at checkout

Third baseman takes part in fund-raising initiative for Children's Hospital

Sandoval surprises shoppers at checkout

BOSTON -- Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval made a pit stop at Star Market near Fenway Park before Friday's game against the A's and surprised shoppers to celebrate the launch of this year's "Give A Smile" program benefitting Boston Children's Hospital.

Sandoval, along with 6-year-old patient Cameron Phillips, bagged groceries for customers.

The program allows shoppers at Shaw's and Star Market throughout New England to donate to Boston Children's Hospital by purchasing "Give A Smile" icons in the amount of $1 or $5 as they are checking out throughout the month of June.

The "Give A Smile" program, which is in its second year, raised more than $500,000 for The Children's Fund in its inaugural year. This is the first year that Shaw's and Star Market have joined the cause.

"Doing things like this allows the people of the city to get to know me better. This is the way I am. I love kids," Sandoval said. "I want to spend more time with them. It's one of the things I am looking forward to."

Sandoval and Phillips worked together loading food into the plastic bags, with Phillips needing to stand on a plastic crate just to be able to reach the groceries.

"We couldn't have been more pleased with the generosity people showed in our inaugural 'Give A Smile' program last year. It served as a reminder that when you get a lot of people engaging in seemingly small ways, you can make a tremendous impact," said Carola Cadley, vice president, corporate development and special events, Boston Children's Hospital Trust. "The addition of iconic New England brands Shaw's and Star Market to this year's efforts will undoubtedly make 'Give A Smile' even more successful."

Plenty of customers were surprised to see Sandoval in the grocery store, including teammate Xander Bogaerts, who was coincidentally buying a cart full of groceries with his brother. To support the cause, Bogaerts donated $50.

Sandoval joked that anytime he goes to the grocery store, he's filling his cart to the brim, buying two cartfuls of groceries.

After bagging groceries, Sandoval and Phillips headed over to a lemonade stand in the store with chef hats on, pouring lemonade and taking donations. Phillips said that it was his favorite part of the day.

Cameron's mother, Mary, said he'd been excited about the event since learning earlier in the week that he'd be meeting Sandoval.

"He loves the Red Sox," Mary Phillips said. "He never calls him Pablo. It's always Panda."

As the event wound down, Cameron got Sandoval to sign a ball and a poster to put in his room. He also made sure to give Sandoval a thank you note with a picture of a Panda on it that he and his sister drew.

"For me it's a great time, because I love seeing kids smile," Sandoval said. "This is important to support the kids."

Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.