Story and photos by Chris Stone

Melvin Ingram, an outside linebacker for the Chargers, was an inside leader Monday night at the upscale Donovan’s Steak and Chop House.

Melvin Ingram thanks guests for attending and for their generous donations to his Mission Possible Foundation.

With a dozen teammates in tow, Ingram and crew served about 130 people, who paid as much as $350 each to feed Ingram’s year-old Mission Possible Foundation.

The first of a hoped-for annual Chargers and Chops served up four courses, wine and autographed items for bid including a Muhammad Ali-signed boxing glove. A Mike Tyson glove, too. A Gold Album signed by the Beatles was auctioned, as well as an NBA title ring and various trips and staycations.

The famed Gaslamp steakhouse “welcomed us with open arms,” Ingram said, hoping to raise “as much as possible” for a foundation that focuses on providing inner-city and low-income children “educational opportunities and resources to reach their full potential and beat the odds.”

Ingram’s aim: To impact the lives of more than 30,000 at-risk San Diego students by the end of 2016.

Guests paid as much as $350 to attend the fund-raiser and bid for auction items.

Now 26, Ingram was the Chargers’ top draft pick in 2012 who missed most of the 2013 season with a torn ACL, returning in Week 16. He grew up in tiny Hamlet, North Carolina, and played for Steve Spurrier at the University of South Carolina.

“God put you in a certain situation for certain reasons,” Ingram said in the middle of serving diners. “When you come from a less-fortunate situation and you have the platform to … touch others’ lives, I think you should do it.”

At 6-2, 247 pounds, Ingram was large for a waiter Monday night — but nowhere near the biggest. Also helping were 6-9, 330-pound offensive tackle King Dunlap and 6-3, 252-pound outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu.

Other Chargers wearing aprons for the cause were Keenan Allen, Donald Butler, Chris Davis, Greg Ducre, Corey Liuget, Patrick Robinson, Manti Te’o, Colton Underwood, Jason Verrett and Tourek Williams.