Dodgers bring community closer over holidays

Dodgers bring community closer over holidays

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers are reaching out to Southern California with a pair of events as part of their "Season of Giving," a community-focused campaign that seeks to improve the lives of children in Los Angeles.

On Nov. 19, in partnership with Ralphs/Food 4 Less, the club hosted the 11th annual Community Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway at Dodger Stadium.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation supported Progress California's 11th annual Turkey Giveaway and Health Fair at the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy in Compton.

On Dec. 15, the Dodgers, the Dodgers Foundation and Levy Restaurants will host 300 underserved community school children at the annual Dodger Stadium Children's Holiday Party.

Dodgers holiday giving

At the Dodger Stadium turkey giveaway, Hall of Fame manager Tom Lasorda was joined by Dodgers Alumni League members Ron Cey, Al "The Bull" Ferrara, Matt Luke, Dennis Powell and Derrel Thomas to distribute a complimentary turkey, fixings and reusable canvas bags to 1,200 pre-selected families and not-for-profit community organizations that distributed them to Los Angeles-area families in need.

"Our community efforts enable us to make a difference throughout the year, but the Dodgers particularly enjoy the holiday season because it provides a forum for us to give back to those in need," said Naomi Rodriguez, Dodgers senior director, external affairs and community relations. "It is particularly gratifying to help make the holidays more joyful for families in our community."

The Dodgers have partnered with the offices of Sen. Kevin de Leon, Councilmember Gil Cedillo, Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell, Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez and U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra for the turkey giveaway, and each office selected organizations in its respective district to benefit.

"The economy in Southern California is getting better, believe it or not. Nonetheless, not a lot of folks have felt the positive resurgence as of yet after the worst economic recession since 1929," de Leon told volunteers working the event.

"So when Ralphs, Food 4 Less and especially the Dodgers step up like this, it's very meaningful for the community. That's why you have so many folks lined up outside, because if they don't get the turkey from you guys, the bottom line is it's unlikely they'll get a turkey elsewhere. What you do truly has a profound impact on the families."

"Ralphs and Food 4 Less are committed to helping year-round in the fight against hunger in the communities we serve," said Kendra Doyle, Ralphs/Food 4 Less senior manager of community affairs. "We hope these efforts will help make the holidays a little brighter for those in need."

At the Urban Youth Academy turkey giveaway, LADF joined community leaders, including Sen. Isadore Hall III, California State Treasurer John Chiang, Assemblymember Mike Gipson, Compton Mayor Aja Brown, Councilmember Isaac Galvan, Councilmember Emma Sharif and Councilmember Janna Zurita, in donating 10,000 free holiday turkeys to underserved families in Compton and surrounding communities.

LADF executive director Nichol Whiteman, Dodgers alumni Billy Ashley, Lee Lacy and Tim Leary and Dodgers broadcasters John Hartung and Alanna Rizzo participated in the Urban Youth Academy event.

At the holiday party, Dodgers players and alumni will join the youngsters in playing games, serve lunch and distribute gifts donated by Mattel. A Blue Prints photo booth will be part of the event for children to take home holiday-themed photos. The Children's Holiday Party will include snow elements courtesy of Artic Glacier Ice.

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