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Dodgers' community efforts in high gear all year

Dodgers' community efforts in high gear all year

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Dodgers' community efforts in high gear all year
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers have another busy holiday season planned this winter, along with a pledge to renew the organization's commitment to the community in 2013 with a focus on youth sports and recreation.

The holiday functions began Nov. 13 with the annual Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway to preselected families in partnership with Councilman Ed Reyes of the 1st District, Councilman Eric Garcetti of the 13th District, California State Senator Kevin de Leon, California State Senator Carol Liu, Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council, Citizens Committee to Save Elysian Park and The Echo Park Improvement Association. All turkeys and fixings were donated by food retailer Ralphs/Food 4 Less.

Giving Spirit
MLB in the Community

There will be these events in December:

Dec. 3 -- Andre Ethier will visit Children's Hospital Los Angeles and bring gifts to young patients and their families spending the holidays away from home.

Dec. 8 -- The Dodgers will sponsor and take part in the local neighborhood Echo Park Community Parade with Dodgers alumni riding the parade route in a Dodgers vehicle.

Dec. 12 -- The Dodgers will host 300 children and teachers from local schools and community centers for the annual Children's Holiday Party at Dodger Stadium, where players, Dodgers alumni and front-office staff will read to the children, sign autographs, sing holiday songs and play games. All kids in attendance will receive a Dodgers goodie bag, as well as a new pair of sneakers and toys provided by A Foundation for Kids.

Dec. 18 -- The Dodgers will distribute 300 hams and fixings to preselected families in partnership with Councilman Reyes and Councilman Garcetti, Farmer John and Ralphs/Food 4 Less.

Dec. 19 -- The Dodgers will participate in El Centro del Pueblo's annual Christmas toy and gift distribution, providing gifts to nearly 3,000 families who would not otherwise experience a special holiday season.

For a fifth consecutive year, the Dodgers will donate thousands of promotional items to non-profit organizations in Greater Los Angeles for children's holiday celebrations.

On New Year's Eve, 2012 Roberto Clemente Award Winner Clayton Kershaw and his wife, Ellen, will continue their inspirational charitable endeavors when they return to Africa to officially open Hope's Home, the orphanage in Lusaka, Zambia, that they have raised money to build and sustain. The Kershaws will be joined on this trip by Dodgers teammate Shawn Tolleson and wife Lynley.

To lead off 2013, the Dodgers will hold their annual Community Service Caravan beginning with participation in the 28th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Kingdom Day Parade on Jan. 19, followed by a week of community service with Dodgers alumni and players.

During the Caravan on Jan. 24, the Dodgers Dream Foundation and Don Mattingly's Mattingly Charities will also host a special event to raise funds that will support youth sports and recreation programs in Greater Los Angeles.

During the season, the Dodgers planned to repeat much of the community outreach work done in 2012.

In August 2012, the Dodgers and the Dodgers Dream Foundation in partnership with A Foundation for Kids hosted Dodgers Feed LA events at two Dodgers Dreamfields, Athens Park and Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center. Dodgers alumni, staff and volunteers from A Foundation for Kids distributed two bags of groceries to more than 1,000 families in need.

Also in August, the Dodgers wives and the Dodgers Dream Foundation partnered again with A Foundation for Kids to host a Back-To-School Supply Drive at a weekend of Dodgers home games. Dodgers wives and volunteers were at all stadium gates where fans were encouraged to donate school supplies or make a monetary contribution upon entry to the game. All collections and money raised were then put to use when many of the Dodgers wives, joined by Kershaw, Tolleson and coach Tim Wallach and Dodgers alumni, distributed backpacks filled with school supplies to 4,000 elementary school students in Greater Los Angeles.

The Dodgers Dream Foundation, in partnership with the LA84 Foundation and the Los Angeles City Department of Recreation and Parks and Los Angeles County, completed five new Dodgers Dreamfields in the Los Angeles area in 2012, with additional fields in Reseda and Highland Park scheduled for completion between now and February.

Upgrades to the fields included backstops, dugout enhancements, bleacher upgrades, irrigation improvements, regrading of playing surfaces, new sod and solar-powered scoreboards. Following each field dedication, the Dodgers hosted baseball clinics for more than 100 children at each site and families received meals from the Farmer John Tailgater at each site.

The Dodgers Dreamfields completed in 2012 include:

• Harbor City Recreation Center (March 24, 2012)
• Athens Park (April 28, 2012)
• Lennox Park (April 26, 2012)
• Normandie Recreation Center (Feb. 8, 2012)

Also, on March 30, Green Field in Oro Valley, Ariz., named in memory of Christina-Taylor Green, officially reopened after being renovated by the Dodgers Dream Foundation and Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation.

In 2012, the Dodgers and the Dodgers Dream Foundation assisted more than 4,000 charitable organizations by renovating baseball fields in the community, through player appearances, and by donating approximately 100,000 tickets, autographed memorabilia, used equipment and much more. Last season, the Dodgers and the Dodgers Dream Foundation impacted thousands of local youth through their various programs.

By the end of this year, the Dodgers Alumni Association will have made more than 300 appearances to local civic, community and non-profit organizations and events to help the organization reach its goals of awareness, promotion or fundraising and to help strengthen the Dodgers' connection to the community.

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

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