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11th Annual Albert Pujols Celebrity Golf Classic
May 20, 2012 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
By: Joanne Lui
A common theme ran through the 11th annual Albert Pujols Celebrity Golf Classic: pretty much everyone who was there – from the celebrities and players to the sponsors and volunteers – was there because they shared a passion for helping others.
On a beautiful, sunny Monday at the Trump National Golf Club in Southern California, Albert Pujols gathered with family, friends and supporters to have some fun while raising money for the Pujols Family Foundation. While Albert’s sore knee prevented him from playing, he was out on the course all afternoon, along with a group of celebrities that included former athletes, actors and some of his Angels teammates.
Golfers were treated to a variety of delicious food choices. Chefs cooked up mini burgers at a booth featuring cookware from Dee Dee Pujols’ line, Pujols Kitchen, which benefits families in poverty around the world. Nearby, The Catch restaurant was serving fish tacos. Joe Manzella, general manager of The Catch, said his staff was glad to be a part of the event for the second year in a row, because the values of the foundation were similar to those of the family-owned restaurant. “We were excited when Pujols signed with the Angels because of his reputation of being a charitable person,” Manzella said.
A similar sentiment was echoed by many at the event, including the Down Syndrome Association of Orange County. The group has developed a relationship with the PFF since Albert moved out west, and members were on hand to volunteer on the course and at the silent auction.
After the rounds of golf were complete, guests placed bids at the silent auction, and also bought golf balls for a unique helicopter ball drop, with half the funds raised going to the foundation and half going to the person whose ball got closest to the hole.
Then it was dinnertime. While guests enjoyed multiple courses, PFF staff members and supporters talked about the reason why everyone was gathered: to help children with Down syndrome and impoverished people in the Dominican Republic.
Videos highlighted some of the work that the PFF does. Volunteer Ani Levy talked about how last year’s post-tournament dinner changed her life, moving her to go to the Dominican Republic with the PFF as a translator on a medical mission.
Finally, Albert and Dee Dee took to the stage to thank everyone and talk about why the foundation is so important to them.
“We truly believe whatever we’ve been given is so we can give back,” Dee Dee said.
But she stressed that money isn’t the only thing that’s important when it comes to giving.
“You don’t have to have a big paycheck to do things like bless people with your time,” she said.
Albert acknowledged that the changes in his baseball career have brought changes to the foundation – positive ones, as they have been able to expand nationally, especially in the Los Angeles area. He knows God has a plan for it all.
“I know I’m here for a purpose,” Albert said. “It’s for His purpose.”
And that, ultimately, was the purpose of the whole day: to help the Pujols Family Foundation be able to continue fulfilling God’s plan, and to inspire those in attendance to find out what they can do to help God’s people as well.