Hundreds of valley kids hang with the Diamondbacks and receive new shoes

A meet and greet with the Diamondbacks was put on for kids in the valley Thursday, and the team's managing partner says giving back to the community is a tradition that stretches back as far as 20 years.

More than 700 kids enjoyed the Winter Classic Holiday Party with Santa Claus and members of the team, while also receiving holiday gifts.

They even met MLB legends like Hall of Famer Randy Johnson and former Diamondbacks pitcher.

"There's always a need, obviously, for all these kids to feel special at this time of year," Johnson said.

Diamondbacks' Coach Torey Lovullo agrees. "Just to see the smile on their face just to interact and have a good time and knowing you're doing something special makes me feel very, very special," he said.

Ken Kendrick, a managing general partner of the team, says it's a time-honored tradition during the holidays that began in 1999. He explained, "This was one of the very first charitable events when the team began ... its a pretty special day when you think of all these years."

Johnson said he started the event with Joe Garagiola Sr., former MLB catcher. "I'm happy to see this has continued even in my absence," he said.

Each kid also received a new pair of shoes.

"They really feel like they jump higher, run faster, dance more cool, and the kids really love having a new pair of shoes," says Debbie Castaldo, vice president of Corporate and Community Impact for the Diamondbacks.

The entire event turned out to be a memorable day for hundreds of valley kids.