Dinger is busy year-round spending time with fans at Rockies games, visiting schools and making countless other appearances, but November and December are especially big on his social calendar. The Rockies mascot is an integral part of spreading holiday cheer in Colorado, and for most community projects, he brings club employees along with him.
For the past several years, Dinger has visited the Make-A-Wish Holiday Wish Store at Children's Hospital Colorado. Dinger visited Children's on Dec. 2 this year for this very special event, an opportunity for patients at Children's Hospital to go holiday shopping for their loved ones without having to leave the hospital. Dinger posed for photos, helped with arts and crafts and accompanied boys and girls as they shopped.
On Dec. 3, Dinger, alongside Telemundo Denver, participated in the Dolls for Daughters event. Dolls for Daughters is an organization that supports underprivileged children and their families in Colorado by providing toys, food and more during the holidays.
On Dec. 12, the Rockies and Gold Crown Foundation hosted a holiday event for St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church at the Gold Crown Foundation Field House in Lakewood, Colo. Along with the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Rapids-represented by their respective mascots Rocky and Edson-it was a great afternoon filled with games, cheers and contests. The Rockies maintain a longstanding community partnership with the Gold Crown Foundation, a non-profit youth sports organization that emphasizes educating youth and community through sports and enrichment programs. The Rockies partner with the Gold Crown Foundation on numerous community projects each year, including the maintenance of Keli McGregor Field at All Star Park in Lakewood, Colo.
And if his community work wasn't enough, Dinger also had the privilege of turning on the lights in Lower Downtown Denver for the holiday season, flipping the switch at Union Station for the annual Denver Grand Illumination. And Dinger helped light the menorah on the steps of the State Capitol Building on the fourth night of Chanukah. All of this was, of course, done around his normal offseason schedule of Make An Impact School visits throughout the Front Range.
On Oct. 21, the Rockies opened up Coors Field to Special Olympics Colorado, hosting their Healthy Athletes Screenings for 2016. The all-day event was an opportunity for athletes to receive a physical free of charge, courtesy of Children's Hospital Colorado Sports Medicine Center and the CU College of Nursing. 2016 was the first year the Rockies hosted the event at Coors Field.
And along with donating space at the ballpark to host the physicals, Rockies volunteers also assisted with check in and check out, greeting families and doing arts and crafts with participants while they waited for their screenings. This was the fourth consecutive year Rockies employees participated in the program.
On Nov. 8, a group from the Rockies front office went out into the Ballpark Neighborhood around Coors Field to participate in the Rake Up Colorado program. Rake Up Colorado is a longstanding program through Volunteers of America and the Safety of Seniors Handyman program that pairs low-income senior citizens with groups that can rake their yard and assist with basic yard work before the winter cold hits.
In what has become an annual holiday tradition, individuals from the Rockies front office participated in a grocery store gift card drive in mid-December. Employees came together to donate nearly $1,000 in gift cards, which will make a difference for children in the Denver Metro Area. Judi's House, a Denver-area non-profit agency that supports grieving children and their families, was the beneficiary of the grocery store gift cards this season. There is no cost to families participating in Judi's House services or programs, and Rockies donations fed people both on-site at the house and in the grieving family's homes.Prior to the December donation, Rockies staff helped provide a Thanksgiving meal for needy Colorado families. Through a combination of food and gift card donations, the club supported the Epworth Foundation's Denver Feed A Family Thanksgiving Program, filling and assembling food baskets for 35 families.
In December, Carlos Gonzalez and his family made a trip to their home country of Venezuela to give back to the community. As part of various community outreach opportunities, CarGo participated in a youth baseball clinic before donating 2,500 toys through The Carlos Gonzalez Foundation.
These efforts add to the extensive resume of work that the Gonzalez Family is already doing in their native Venezuela. Last year, the Gonzalez Family, with the support of Denver-based non-profit Project C.U.R.E., pledged to donate $3,000,000 to hospitals in Venezuela.The Gonzalez Family, via Project C.U.R.E., made their first donation of medical supplies - about $500,000 worth of medicine and equipment-last June.
As this year's holiday season approached, the Rockies and longtime community partner, Volunteers of America, participated in a special volunteer project on Dec. 15. The Rockies visited Denver VOA to add holiday cheer to the Mission and, while there, organize the food items that would be used to create holiday food baskets for their clients. The group of Rockies staffers decorated the Mission for the holidays, unloaded a truck of food and supplies from the Food Bank of the Rockies and organized items for food bag donations.