San Diego Padres pitcher Woody Williams recently gave 125 students in the Juvenile Court and Community Schools a once-in-a-lifetime, back-to-school shopping spree at the Mission Valley Target store, providing new clothes and school supplies for some of the county's neediest students.
"There can't be anything better than seeing that many kids having a special day," Williams told the Union-Tribune afterward. "That was one of the best things I've ever done."
Williams and the Padres community relations staff worked with the County Office of Education to identify the students. The students attend Monarch, Hillcrest, and Harbor Schools in the metropolitan San Diego area, Oak Creek in Valley Center, and Mission in Oceanside.
All five schools serve students who are either homeless or living in residential programs because they were abused, abandoned or neglected. In addition to the shopping spree, which provided approximately $200 in clothes and school supplies for each student, Williams also paid for bus transportation to the Labor Day shopping.
And that evening, for good measure, he was the starting pitcher in the Padres 7-5 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Petco Park.
In addition to Williams' sponsorship and presence at the store, more than 25 Padres front office personnel also volunteered to help the students with their shopping, gathering at the department store at 8 a.m., an hour before the first bus of students.