SAN DIEGO -- In 2009, Padres catcher Nick Hundley and his wife, Amy, volunteered to help out with the back-to-school shopping event that then-teammate Chris Young hosted at Target.
It didn't take long for the Hundleys to see the difference the shopping event made on the underprivileged children who attended the event.
"We wanted to help them out, so the first time we shopped, we were with a kid who was 13, and he said that it was the first time he received shoes that actually fit him," Hundley said. "... That's something we take for granted. It really pulls on your heartstrings. There are people in our community who don't have the means to give their kids what they need."
When Young left the organization after the 2010 season, the Hundleys were quick to continue with the event, and they have hosted it for the last four years at the Target in Mission Valley, Calif.
On Sept. 6, the Hundleys were joined by several teammates and members of the organization as they hosted a group of approximately 90 high school students from the Monarch School in San Diego, a school for homeless children, for a shopping spree.
This year, each student was paired with a player or front-office volunteer, and they had the chance to shop for two tops, two bottoms, a pack of socks and a pair of shoes of their choice. Students received a custom Hundley T-shirt, a Nike backpack filled with souvenirs provided by the Padres Foundation and school supplies and snacks provided by Target.
The players who attended the event included Anthony Bass, Brad Boxberger, Andrew Cashner, Robbie Erlin, Logan Forsythe, Luke Gregerson, Colt Hynes, Casey Kelly, Tommy Layne, Tyson Ross, Tim Stauffer, Will Venable, Nick Vincent and Joe Wieland.
"The guys are great ... and it keeps growing. This year, we had 15 or so players come out," Hundley said. "It's toward the end of the season, guys are hurt, tired, it's a long year. But these guys came out early in the morning [on the day] of a night game and helped. I'm really thankful for the players and the staff who came. For us to get that type of turnout for the kids is really humbling."
Especially when Hundley sees the joy the students get each year at the event.
"There are some kids who have never been in a store before," Hundley said. "We're not trying to give handouts, but we are trying to work with kids who are trying to better themselves. I know that if I were homeless as a child and didn't know where my next night would be, I don't know if I would be thinking about school.
"But these kids are choosing to better themselves. It's the least we can do to give them the basic needs that might not normally be met."
Hundley would like to see the event grow, to get more back-to-school items into the hands of children who need them.
"It's been great," he said. "They are so thankful. They expect absolutely nothing. They don't ask for anything. So to be able to give them this experience and let them know the Padres' organization cares about them, their well being, their future and that they do well, that means a lot."