HOBOKEN, N.J. -- CC Sabathia used his prized left arm for something other than retiring opposing hitters on Saturday, helping repaint the Hoboken Boys and Girls Club, which was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy.
Sabathia's PitCCh In Foundation originally had a fundraising event at Lucky Strike scheduled for Friday and a scavenger hunt through Central Park on Saturday as part of the annual CC Challenge, but Sabathia and wife Amber, the foundation's co-founder and executive director, redirected their efforts to rebuilding in the wake of last week's hurricane.
"Today was supposed to be our fundraiser -- a great event -- and we squashed it," Amber Sabathia said before a crowd of volunteers and members of the Boys and Girls Club. "There are more important things that need to be done."
There was little doubt for the Sabathias that they would focus their efforts on the Boys and Girls Club, where Sabathia spent countless hours in Vallejo, Calif., from the time he was in second grade until he reached high school.
They arrived at the Hoboken Club on Saturday afternoon ready to assist in the rebuilding phase after volunteers and workers spent the past 10 days cleaning the building they found flooded with oil, water and sludge a day after the hurricane hit.
"I grew up in the Boys and Girls Club," said Sabathia, who is a member of the organization's Hall of Fame. "When I heard about this, I knew we wanted to come out."
He promised autographs and photos for volunteers, but his priority was work. Aided by family and friends, including former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber, Sabathia helped paint the rooms already emptied, disinfected and dehumidified, using his 6-foot-7 frame to reach for the high parts on the wall while his 9-year-old son, CC III, worked on the bottom of the wall below him.
Sabathia's presence at the Boys and Girls Club offered a morale boost as well as more bodies for the manual labor.
"It's what it symbolizes, bringing hope to the community," said Gary Greenberg, executive director of Hudson County Boys and Girls Clubs. "Especially CC, who can be anywhere he wants in the country and he chooses to be in Hoboken at the Boys and Girls Club."
The PitCCh In Foundation started its day at the HOPES Community Action Partnership in Hoboken, distributing the products of a shopping spree earlier in the week. The Sabathias purchased non-perishable food items, diapers, baby wipes and formula along with jackets, hats, gloves, scarves and pajamas for infants and young children.
Those still recovering from the hurricane collected what they needed depending on the size of their family, and CC Sabathia presented each with a 0 prepaid MasterCard gift card as they left.
"We're trying to help people get back on their feet," Sabathia said.
Steven Miller is an associate reporter.