Fernando Valenzuela Honored To Participate In Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation Thanksgiving Event

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) continued to give back to the community this Thanksgiving season, which included two events, with one at Dodger Stadium and the other held at a Dreamfields location in South L.A.

For nearly two decades, the Dodgers have provided turkeys to the local community during the holiday season. This year the Dodgers donated a total of $30,000 to six local charities that will provide turkeys and sides to Angelenos in need.

The Dodgers started their season of giving with a Thanksgiving lunch for roughly 400 unhoused veterans at Dodger Stadium in the Center Field Plaza on November 16.

The guests were treated with a full Thanksgiving meal while Fernando Valenzuela, Joe Davis and Kirsten Watson helped serve the food.

“I’m very happy to participate,” Valenzuela said. “These are people who sacrificed a lot for the country, and what we’re doing is just a very small part compared to what they’ve done. It’s an honor to be here.”

Valenzuela and Davis helped serve the turkey while Watson was giving out the ham along with other workers who helped distribute the sides.

“Just seeing the joy and gratitude on their faces as they go through the food line,” Davis said about his favorite moment from the event. “I was the turkey guy, so I think that it may have been that we had some pretty juicy turkey down there that they were excited about.

“But to know the difficulties that a lot of these men and women have been through and to see the looks on their faces, just to still have that perspective that they seem to have, it’s something I’ll carry with me for a while.”

In addition to the food, the Dodgers announced everyone in attendance is invited to a home game during the 2024 season and all received a gift bag with a fitted hat and shirt. A few lucky others also received additional prizes.

“One of the great things about the organization I think, and I’ve been here for almost a decade now, is how much they do in the community and how many different parts of the community they touch,” Davis said.

“And this is one where servicemen and women, and veterans, I don’t have a ton of that in my family. You go back a couple generations, my grandparents served, but I didn’t grow up with a ton of it. So this is a rare opportunity for me to kind of touch this world and like I said, be able to give back a little bit.”

The following day, the Dodgers and LADF partnered with Mookie Betts and his 50/50 Foundation, the Brotherhood Crusade (BHC), UCLA Health and councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson to host a Thanksgiving Grab and Go drive-thru.

Since 2018, LADF has provided BHC with over $416,000 in grants. This was the third year of the 50 Feeds LA Campaign, started in partnership with Betts’ 50/50 Foundation to address food insecurity.

Dodgers fans supported the campaign in Dodger Stadium back in May and Betts matched funds, which allowed LADF to support BHC with their largest grant to date totaling $130,230.

“It is the holidays and so it’s the season of giving,” Betts said.

Mookie and Brianna Betts joined volunteers in distributing groceries for Thanksgiving meals including turkey, fixings and dessert, along with a care kit from UCLA Health.

The event was open to the public on a first come, first serve basis to provide 1,500 meals free of charge.

In addition to the Betts’ family, LADF CEO Nichol Whiteman, president and CEO of BHC Charisse Bremond Weaver, and Shawn and Sharhonda Stockman, founders of Micah’s Voice, also contributed to the distribution.

“Thanksgiving means the world to me,” Betts said. “Getting to spend time with my family because it’s hard for me sometimes to spend time with my family, especially with my work. And so Thanksgiving really hits home for me.

“I really cherish these moments and cherish giving back and just cherish this time of spending with your family.”

Joe Davis appreciated Dodgers’ Thanksgiving food

Davis has become well-known for cooking and grilling food, which he would post to his social media, but that didn’t totally help him prepare for how much he dished out during the event.

“Yeah, I’ve never served this much,” Davis said. “It definitely, what it does, it gives me an appreciation for good food when I see it. It’s a lot of good food out here, these guys are getting a great meal.

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