Padres feed 600+ families with annual drive

November 23rd, 2020

SAN DIEGO -- The COVID-19 pandemic wouldn't stop the Padres' annual Thanksgiving turkey distribution, though it did change the calculus a bit.

The event -- typically buzzing with families and team employees inside Petco Park’s home-plate gate -- instead took place in an adjacent parking lot. The logistics this year?

"Drive through, they stop the car, they pop the trunk, and we put turkey and fixings and everything in there for them for a great Thanksgiving meal," said Padres president of business operations Erik Greupner. "Then we wish them a happy Thanksgiving and they drive off."

When all was said and done, Monday's event -- in partnership with the San Diego Food Bank -- fed more than 600 underserved and military families in the area.

A few dozen Padres volunteers were on hand to distribute, including former pitcher .

The Padres have been active in distributing food to underserved San Diegans throughout the pandemic. They've staged a number of giveaways in partnership with the San Diego Food Bank and Feeding San Diego -- also in the Lexus Lot adjacent to the home-plate gate.

"It was helpful we'd done a few already, because obviously we want to make sure it's safe and socially distant," Greupner said. “The format worked really well."

As always, the Padres’ annual turkey distribution kicks off the team’s holiday giving season. It marks the first of numerous events for Padres Holiday Giving presented by Gallagher Insurance, which will take place over the next month.

As for the impact of Monday's event, it's not lost on the Padres what the turkey distribution means to families in a year with unprecedented challenges.

"This holiday season is a unique one for some pretty difficult reasons," Greupner said. "This is our seventh annual turkey distribution event. ... For all of us, it was especially meaningful this year, being able to serve 600 families at the distribution and knowing it's going to be helpful in a year like this year when times are tough economically and otherwise. It definitely was special to be involved in it."