Curtis Granderson is helping out kids affected by Hurricane Sandy during the holiday season.
The All-Star center fielder was in New York to participate in an event called the Grand Kids Hurricane Sandy School Recovery Backpack Operation, at which he helped fill colorful backpacks with crayons, notebooks, folders and other supplies to bring to school children affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Granderson also visited Staten Island, N.Y., one of the hardest hit areas during the hurricane, to distribute some of the backpacks at P.S. 39. His enthusiasm for the backpack initiative stems not only from his passion for charity and promoting education, but also memories of childhood.
"It was one of the coolest things for me when I was doing back-to-school shopping. Getting my backpack, getting my pens and paper, getting my folder," he said.
While Granderson witnessed first-hand the destruction on his tour of the Staten Island community, he was astonished by the resolve and tenacious attitude of the students.
"Going to the school itself was an experience of just being back with the kids and how kids just continue to keep going.
"When I asked the kids who was sticking around for the holidays, all the hands went up," Granderson said, adding that the message he got from the kids, "We're not going anywhere. This is home. We're gonna help and we're gonna do everything we can to rebuild this community."
Like every offseason, Granderson is keeping a whirlwind schedule involving baseball and his various charitable endeavors. Earlier this month, he visited Japan and Korea as an ambassador for Major League Baseball, a role he has gladly accepted in recent years. It is through kids, however, that Granderson believes he can make his most enduring contribution off the baseball field.
"I like multi-tasking. When given opportunities to do things that I love, promote baseball, be in the school environment, give kids backpacks, I am jumping at the opportunity to do it.
"I was a student. I am a player. I want to get kids playing. I played Little League. This is just an extension of me," Granderson said. "I'm just a little older now. My job profession has changed just a little bit. I see myself in them and, when given the opportunity to do it, I'm all for it."