For one day, various law enforcement, media personalities and sports stars like Chargers safety Steve Gregory and Padres closer Heath Bell traded in their jerseys for aprons and waited for tips to help benefit San Diego youth.
Over 700 people who sat down Friday for a charity luncheon put on by STAR/PAL got to place their orders and be entertained by some of the more recognizable names in San Diego sports, media and law enforcement in exchange for donations.
Proceeds from the 11th Annual "Superheroes for Youth” luncheon went toward STAR/PAL’s mission to help keep kids in school and away from crime, so the local celebrities on hand were asked to do anything and everything they could to collect tips.
“We raise money in a number of ways here and anything goes," said Lisa Ballard, the luncheon chair. "It’s very crazy and chaotic; literally as long as it’s legal, that’s the one thing we say. They can do it in a number of ways, and they’re getting very creative.”
Getting creative at the fundraiser were people like basketball great Bill Walton, players from the Chargers and Padres, and the Aztec Warrior, among many others. Mayor Jerry Sanders helped open the event before the guests ate and the celebs took to the floor.
“As a community leader, someone who’s in the spotlight, kids look up to us," Gregory said. "Being in that position and being able to give back and do that for kids is definitely something that I’m passionate about and I feel is very important.”
STAR/PAL is a non-profit organization that provides over 10,000 recreational activities and programs annually to inner-city neighborhoods throughout the city and do outreach with law enforcement and collaborative partners.
“We couldn’t be more proud to be here on behalf of STRA/PAL, making dreams come true for young children,” said Bill Walton, a Hall of Fame basketball player and San Diego native.
Walton, who has a history with STAR/PAL as a trustee, also auctioned off a dinner date with him and his wife and a signed basketball.
With all the star power in the room, Ballard hoped they made their mark this year of over $100,000 in tips and donations.
“It’s all about the children" Ballard said. "In order for us to continue serving thousands of youth, we need engagement … It’s our goal to engage people beyond this event and throughout the year.”