ST. LOUIS -- Fans who pulled up in front of Busch Stadium on Wednesday morning to unload toys and gift cards in support of the Cardinals' gift drive were surprised with more than just a cup of complimentary hot chocolate.If they were paying close attention, they would have realized that
ST. LOUIS -- Fans who pulled up in front of Busch Stadium on Wednesday morning to unload toys and gift cards in support of the Cardinals' gift drive were surprised with more than just a cup of complimentary hot chocolate.
If they were paying close attention, they would have realized that Santa's helpers were two familiar faces.
First baseman Luke Voit and catcher Carson Kelly, who are spending the offseason in St. Louis, joined members of the Cardinals organization to help with the sixth annual holiday event. For seven hours, volunteers collected donations that will be distributed to various charities throughout the month.
"I've been fortunate enough to always have Christmas morning, and Christmas morning is the best thing in the world for a little kid," Voit said. "It's nice to always give back to kids who don't have the chance for all that."
The Cardinals collected 1,614 gifts and $1,225 in gift cards during the drive. Cash donations were also made.
Once gifts were dropped off, they were taken into the Joe Cunningham Corner event space inside Busch Stadium, where dozens of volunteers were ready to wrap. Voit and Kelly spent time assisting there, too. They meticulously wrapped puzzles, games, books and other toys.
"I think we did OK," Kelly joked afterward. "It's just great to get out here with Cardinal Care and all they've done for this community. It's a lot of fun to be a part of, and a great opportunity to give back to the community."
A portion of the gifts will be distributed by Fredbird during a Breakfast with Santa event hosted by the American Red Cross at Scott Air Force Base on Saturday. The rest will be given over to local charities Angel's Arms, Southside Early Childhood Center, Annie Malone Children's Home and Youth In Need to ensure that as many children as possible receive gifts this holiday season.
"We hope everyone in this area has a good Christmas morning," Voit said.
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.