Hollywood celebrities and world-renowned athletes gathered at Ralphs Supermarket in Hancock Park to kick-off a new fundraising program that encourages shoppers at Southern California Ralphs and Food 4 Less grocery stores to support the 2015 Special Olympics World Games by donating their spare change in specially marked canisters at checkout.
Alicia Sixtos, Janine Larina, Danielle Vega and Tracy Perez of Hulu's original series "East Los High" joined Meryl Davis, Gold-Medal Olympic Ice Dancer and Winner of "Dancing with the Stars" Season 18, Greg Louganis, Gold-Medal Olympic diver, "Glee" star Lauren Potter, and Special Olympics Messengers and Athletes partook in a "surprise guest grocery bagging" for Ralphs customers who participated in the donation program. Celebrities bagged items and posed for photos while inviting shoppers to donate. The local event brought a smile to many customers and created awareness for the worthy cause.
"It means a lot for me to be here supporting the Special Olympics, I'm so happy to be one of the newest ambassador for a cause that champions "acceptance and inclusion." I invite everyone to donate to the support of these truly amazing athletes," said Tracy Perez of before giving a sneak peek of what's to come on "east Los High" season 3. "It's going to be an exciting new season with lots more dance, drama, character arcs had suspense. And Vanessa will use her HIV positive status to create outreach for at risk youth."
Olympic medalist, Meryl Davis, was front and center with her support of the World Games. "I'm really excited," said Davis, "to be a part of this campaign leading up to Special Olympic games here in LA this summer. Don't forget to come to your local Southern California Ralphs store and donate!"
Lauren Potter's inspirational speech made attendees' eyes well-up. "We all are different, and you know what, that's a good thing. The Special Olympics athletes work and play hard and I'm so excited to be a part of these World Games. Be brave and never give up on your dreams," she said with a smile from ear to ear.
Executives from the Special Olympics World Games, Ralphs and long-time Olympic sponsor and Special Olympics Founding Sponsor Coca-Cola were also in attendance at the event to introduce the charitable campaign. "Today, we are bringing the Special Olympic World Games back to the United States for the first time in 16 years. It will be the largest sports humanitarian event in the world this year and we believe it will be the most inspirational," said Patrick McClenahan of the Special Olympics World Games.
Southern California Ralphs and Food 4 Less customers may support the World Games by donating spare change in specially marked canisters at checkout from from April 29 ÔÇô May 19.
The Special Olympics World Games, being held over nine days (July 25-August 2) this summer, and will be the single biggest event held in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympic Games. Over 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches will represent 177 countries, along with 30,000 volunteers and an anticipated 500,000 spectators. Learn more at www.la2015.org