LOS ANGELES -- Ned Colletti lived his first five years in a converted garage and he hasn't forgotten what it's like not to have what he has now.
His concern for those less fortunate is genuine, which was why after a marathon week at the Winter Meetings, at 9 a.m. Saturday he was handing out toys, food and clothing to the underserved at the Los Angeles Rotary Club's Angel City Christmas Celebration and Giveaway.
The event, co-sponsored by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, was held at the Bryant Temple AME Church -- not far from the campus of the University of Southern California. When Colletti arrived, he found a line of families wrapped around an entire square block. The crowd was estimated by organizers at upwards of 5,000.
"I think about how I grew up and lived all the time," said the Dodgers general manager, who was joined by Villaraigosa in handing out presents and Dodgers caps. "Everything my mom and dad had was hard earned. When I came here to Los Angeles [five years ago], I wanted to make a positive impact."
Colletti's pet project literally has become Guide Dogs of America, having personally funded the training and placement of one guide dog, with another to be presented later this month and a third next year. He was recruited by former USC coach Pete Carroll for the "Better L. A. Foundation," and with Carroll gone to Seattle, Colletti has tried to take on a more active role. He was honored with the Humanitarian Award from "A Place Called Home," which mentors and teaches at-risk students. He also donates game tickets to military and local organizations.
His appearance on Saturday was the result of a commitment he made after speaking to a Rotary Club meeting earlier this year with Joe Torre and Don Mattingly.
"I could do something like this every day and in my heart of hearts I wouldn't feel I did enough," he said. "My dad died when he was 51 and one of the last things I remember him telling me is that I would get more out of life giving and helping than receiving and taking. My dad built our home out of my uncle's garage. He built the walls, did the plumbing and electricity. Crazy stuff, and here I am. I'm humbled by the opportunity to do what I do."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.