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Colletti gets in spirit of season at toy giveaway

LOS ANGELES -- Santa Colletti came to town on Saturday.

While waiting for Juan Uribe to re-sign, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti was in South Central L.A., handing out goodies at the Angel City Toy Giveaway, a holiday-season community event sponsored by the Rotary Club at Algin Sutton Recreation Center.

It's become an annual stop for Colletti, whose under-the-radar resume of charitable ties ranges from sponsoring the training of guide dogs for the sight-impaired and stroke-vulnerable, to funding scholarships for first-generation college students at "A Place Called Home," to reading poetry as an introduction to literature for young students called "Get Lit," to a six-year affiliation with "A Better LA," which empowers community leaders to better their neighborhoods.

Colletti is also on the board of directors of Vision to Learn, created by the Beutner Family Foundation to bring mobile eye clinics to elementary schools in low-income communities and provide free eye exams.

And Colletti has been able to participate in the charity of one of his favorite legendary players -- the Ron and Vicki Santo Diabetic Alert Dog Foundation, which teaches dogs to detect dangerous blood-sugar levels.

"My parents died of cancer," said Colletti, whose mother died earlier this year. "We never had much, we lived day to day financially. But if somebody needed help, my parents were the first ones there and I never forget that. I'm blessed to have this opportunity. And I wake up every morning hoping to be a blessing to somebody.

"All of these programs are very special to me and the Dodgers have been cool. They let me do it."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for

Los Angeles Dodgers