The Santa Cruz Warriors teamed up with Grind Out Hunger of Santa Cruz to put on a welcoming party for the players at Grind Out Hunger headquarters on the 41st Avenue site of what used to be Santa Cruz Skate and Surf.
Grind Out Hunger is a nonprofit oginization lead by Santa Cruz native Danny Keith that helps provide 80,000 meals a year for children and families in need.
"Minor league sports are all about the community — not only creating a family-friendly environment at the games, but ensuring that our neighbors in need are looked after," said Santa Cruz Warriors President Jim Weyermann.
Grind Out Hunger will also be present at every home game with their own section behind one of the baskets that will have a banner overhead. Anybody who participates and supports the organization will have the tickets available for purchase.
Even before their arena is finished, the Warriors have shown real support for the community. The team even had a booth at the annual Chili Cook-off two weeks ago.
Grind Out Hunger has collected over 1.5 million meals for families locally with help from the Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County since 2003.
"My guys are not only here to be basketball players," said coach Nate Bjorkgren. "They're here to help people, help the community, in any way that we can."
The festivities kicked off with the team and coaches' introduction, and a small introduction of Grind Out Hunger from Danny Keith.
The players then coached kids through the drills and were treated to some Santa Cruz love with a skateboarding preformance.
"The energy in that room is awesome," said Coach Bjorkgren. "And our guys with the music pumping in there and people clapping and cheering and our guys they like that stuff too so my guys bring a lot of energy too, so it's great."