Sparkly shoes, warm jackets and colorful T-shirts flew into shopping carts Friday as the Padres Foundation pitched in to supply unhoused children with new clothes and shoes for the beginning of school.
At the Kearny Mesa Walmart, students from Monarch School were paired with current and former Padres, the Pad Squad and volunteers to choose new outfits.
Players included outfielder Trent Grisham, closer Josh Hader and pitcher Nick Martinez, plus former players Trevor Hoffman, Nick Hundley and Greg Garcia.
“We love this event every year,” said Padres CEO Erik Greupner.
“These are kids that deal with a lot of challenges in life. They’re unhoused. But every day, they’re finding their way to show up at school and learn and grow and try to create a better future for themselves and their families.”
Greupner added: “So anything we can do to help support them — give them a boost up and get them back into the school year with some new clothes and supplies that they need — it’s our privilege and honor and really pleasure to do that.”
As 90 children arrived, they passed between cheering volunteers. Then they hightailed it to the clothing and shoe departments, where they began their shopping sprees.
Hader, who carried his toddler son, said: “It’s very special just to share that with them and just be able to get that moment with them and, you know, enjoy the little things in life.”
Hoffman said the best part was seeing the smiles and knowing they’re helping students while “they’re having a great time doing it.”
The Hall of Famer cheered the Monarch School.
“The faculty, they do an amazing job,” he said, “helping the kids and preparing them for the later years of high school and even all the way to college. So it’s a great program. They do wonderful things, and we’re grateful to be a part of it.”
The Padres Foundation is the nonprofit arm of the club and supports the San Diego and Baja region through funds raised throughout the year. The group aims to leave a lasting impact in the areas of health, education, youth baseball/softball, military and first responders.