Affeldt happy to assist effort of fighting hunger
Dedicated to humanitarian causes, Giants reliever helps package meals for needy
EAST PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Jeremy Affeldt relished the scene as if it were one of the Giants' World Series championship celebrations from 2010 or 2012.
Hundreds of people, mostly teenagers, occupied a gymnasium and auditorium Saturday at Cesar Chavez Elementary School and steadily filled container after container with rice, soy, dried vegetables and a nutrient powder, with the goal of packaging and delivering 250,000 meals. They'll be divided between local food banks and needy families in Guatemala to further the "Something2Eat" program.
This was the latest humanitarian effort involving Affeldt, the left-handed reliever who has remained profoundly committed to altruistic causes. He co-founded the non-profit organization, Generation Alive, which combined with Youth Front of Kansas City and Able Works to produce the "Something2Eat" shipments.
Affeldt took a brief break from packaging goods and surveyed the volunteers in the gymnasium, who comprised an ethnic melting pot. He reveled in the diversity.
"There's a lot of different cultures in this room, representing different walks of life, different faces of life and different financial walks of life," Affeldt said. "This is what community's all about. This is what I look to. This is how I see society becoming great, when you have a community of people that doesn't care about race or financial situations. They just get together and try to do something good and abolish things that are going on. Right now, it's hunger."
Just a few days ago, Affeldt donated $25,000 to match funds raised by San Francisco third-base coach Tim Flannery, a professional musician who has staged a series of benefit concerts for Bryan Stow. Flannery and Affeldt have continued to assist Stow, the Giants fan who was brutally beaten in a Dodger Stadium parking lot after the 2011 season opener. Fighting human trafficking and promoting youth ministry have been among Affeldt's other endeavors.
With Affeldt providing an example of selflessness at the Major League level, perhaps it was fitting that a pair of Giants from the organization's advanced Class A San Jose affiliate, outfielder Devin Harris and third baseman Myles Schroder, joined the enthusiastic volunteers. Both referred to a talk that Affeldt delivered last year to Minor Leaguers during a presentation called "Habit-tudes" that promoted a positive outlook and lifestyle.
Community service was part of that mix. Referring to the charitable deeds of players such as Affeldt, Juliana Paoli, the San Jose club's chief marketing officer, called such activity the "first step of putting on that Giants uniform."
Every half-hour during the meal packaging, volunteers paused as different bands of their counterparts would recite a poem or perform a song that conveyed the plight of hunger.
"They write about what hunger means to them, what it does to them," Affeldt said. The effect on the volunteers, he added, was "to remember what you're doing this for. It kind of brings reality to the situation."