On Friday, the Brotherhood Crusade partnered with the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) and Acts Inspired by Mookie (AIM) to host a Thanksgiving Grab and Go drive-thru at the Algin Sutton Recreation Center.
Two-time World Series champion and six-time Gold Glove Award winner Mookie Betts, his wife Brianna and daughter Kynlee were among the many volunteers who loaded Thanksgiving food and various other items into cars of families in the South Central Los Angeles Area.
“My family, we’ve been Blessed,” Betts said. “It’s just super important to give back and that’s where happiness comes.”
Betts will be honored at the Brotherhood Crusade’s 2022 Pioneer of African American Achievement Award Dinner. This will be the first time the Brotherhood Crusade will host the event in two years. Betts noted how he strives to do things “from the heart.”
“Giving back in general is huge, Brotherhood Crusade has been a great, great organization to be a part of and I’m happy to be here with them,” Betts said. “They do everything A+, top-notch, just to be a part of anything with them is a Blessing.”
The Brotherhood Crusade gave away 1000 turkeys along with ingredients for Thanksgiving side dishes and beverages. Families also received toys and books from the drive-thru.
“Brotherhood Crusade strong is because of all the great partners because of everyone stepping up in a time when we know people in our community are struggling,” said Brotherhood Crusade president and CEO Charisse Bremond Weaver. “Brotherhood Crusade, 54 years founded by my late father Walter Bremond, our institutional builder Danny J. Bakewell Sr. just bringing people together. That has been our foundation.”
People who attended the event also received PPE supplies provided by UCLA Health, the official health partner of the Dodgers.
“I love so many aspects of my job but one of the best things I get to do is work with Mookie Betts,” said LADF CEO Nichol Whiteman. “He is amazing on the field, as so many people know, but he’s also just an amazing human being—he and his family—off the field.”
To make the event possible, the Brotherhood Crusade partnered with other organizations including the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Blue Cross of California, CBG, and SoCal Gas. Los Angeles City councilmember Heather Hutt called the Brotherhood Crusade “an amazing community partner.”
“They really understand the needs of the community and they know how to gather resources to fulfill the need,” Hutt said. “What’s good is to see that volunteers from different kinds of businesses are here ready to give their time.”
Algin Sutton Recreation Center is a special place because it houses the first and fiftieth Dodgers Dreamfields. One of the goals of LADF is to refurbish baseball fields throughout the Los Angeles area. The venue proved to be good for more than just teaching youth life lessons through baseball.
“Today you get to see up close and personal the people that you pass on the street or you see at the bus stop,” said L.A. City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson. “People are really, really struggling to make ends meet, this kind of helps to close that gap.”
SEIU organizer Farah Abdullahi noted how events like this are helpful for their members.
“A lot of our members live out here, they’re home care workers, they’re on the lower end economically,” Abdullahi said. “This means a lot to them.”
Cars created a long line along the side of the park to get into the drive-thru.
“I am out here because I think it’s important to devote time and effort to give back,” said SoCal Gas senior organization development advisor Desiree Haynes. “I’m happy that Mookie and his family and the LA Dodgers Foundation were able to make time for something as integral as what the Brotherhood Crusade is doing.”
The organization CBG builds affordable housing, and their focus is on community.
“You can see there’s a lot of need here today,” said CBG co-founder Christian Hart. “It’s actually quite fulfilling but it’s also heartbreaking in many ways because you just see so many people desperately in need of help right now.”
As volunteers loaded cars with Thanksgiving food, toys, and essential items, music played by the deejay at the event kept the atmosphere fun.
“The vibe has been real cheerful and joyful,” said Brotherhood Crusade sports coordinator Jason Moseley. “Soon as we get to the cars and we hand them the stuff, it’s nothing but smiles and cheers on their face, so that’s rewarding.”