50 MLB PLAYERS TEAM UP TO PROVIDE OVER 4 MILLION MEALS AS PART OF “HOME PLATE PROJECT” INITIATIVE TO ADDRESS CHILDHOOD HUNGER DUE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC
A league-wide initiative by all 30 MLB Clubs and over 50 Major League players has raised nearly $1 million, providing over 4 million meals to support childhood hunger prevention in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 20 million students in the United States and Canada rely on school-provided free or reduced-price meals. With schools shut down, players personally reached out to each other to collect donations as part of the Home Plate Project, a partnership between Major League Baseball, Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation and Big League Impact, which was founded by St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright, and is currently led by Wainwright and Texas Rangers pitcher Kyle Gibson.
Though the initiative was originally scheduled to launch its second year in the fall, Brooks, Wainwright and Gibson realized the urgency and need for children who are unable to attend school in the face of the pandemic. They quickly assembled their charity teams and personally called and sent messages to as many of their fellow players as they could, with many of those players reaching out to their friends around the league. With the help of Brooks’ Teammates for Kids Foundation and on short notice, the network of players and partners was able to raise $937,100 for the effort.
List of Player Ambassadors for Each MLB Club:
ARI: Luke Weaver
ATL: Mark Melancon
BAL: Chris Davis
BOS: Nate Eovaldi, Mitch Moreland
CHC: Daniel Descalso, Steven Souza Jr.
CWS: Steve Cishek
CIN: Sonny Gray, Michael Lorenzen
CLE: Brad Hand, Shane Bieber,
Nick Wittgren, Jake Bauers
COL: Daniel Murphy, Nolan Arenado,
DET: Matthew Boyd, Ron Gardenhire
HOU: Justin Verlander
KC: Ian Kennedy, Trevor Rosenthal
LAA: Albert Pujols, Jason Castro
LAD: Clayton Kershaw
MIA: Corey Dickerson, Sean Rodriguez
MIL: Brent Suter
MIN: Marwin Gonzalez
NYM: Steven Matz, Michael Wacha
NYY: DJ LeMahieu, Brett Gardner
OAK: Stephen Piscotty
PHI: Aaron Nola, Neil Walker
PIT: Trevor Williams
SD: Brian Dozier, Tommy Pham
SEA: Marco Gonzales
SF: Hunter Pence
STL: Paul Goldschmidt, Adam Wainwright
TB: Charlie Morton, Joey Wendle
TEX: Kyle Gibson, Lance Lynn,
Elvis Andrus, Robinson Chirinos
TOR: Chase Anderson, Randal Grichuk
WSH: Yan Gomes
Garth Brooks said: “We at Teammates are honored to be partnering with Adam and Kyle and the heroes of MLB for another year and another Home Plate Project. Last year’s impact was so great, and this year’s will be even better. I’m really proud of the players who are participating in this project, now when it’s needed most. It’s a joy and a privilege to be part of the healing.”
Adam Wainwright said: “Coming together with Garth and his foundation last year for our Home Plate Project was incredibly powerful. We were excited to partner again later this year, but the pandemic the world faces during this time has called for us to act now. Big leaguers from every MLB team felt compelled to jump in with us so we can help feed kids right now when they need it most in their cities. We are grateful for the opportunity to help fill their needs in this most crucial time with this great project. Thanks goes out to everyone who made this come together so quickly so we could have an immediate impact – especially to all the players… this isn’t possible without you. We may be competitors on the field, but we are all one big family off of it.”
Kyle Gibson said: “At Big League Impact, we are always trying to find ways to help players raise money and have an impact in their home cities. Last year when we launched the Home Plate Project with Teammates for Kids and MLB, we knew it was going to be a program that would help kids all across the country who are constantly living with food insecurity. This was something we’ve been looking forward to doing again in August, but with COVID-19 causing the cancellation of schools all across the country, that has limited some kids’ access to free meals that they rely on to survive, and doing it now was an easy decision to make. To be able to step in and help fill that void is an absolute privilege! We knew when we decided to launch this program four months early, it was going to present some challenges that we didn’t face last year. Players all across the league have stepped up to help us overcome them, and they are the reason we have been able to grow this program larger than last year – and at a time when kids need it most. Big League Impact cannot accomplish what we do without the MLB players who jump on board and
choose to do good in their communities. To the players around the league making this program successful in a time of dire need, our staff at Big League Impact says thank you!”
Melanie LeGrande, Vice President of Social Responsibility, Major League Baseball, said: “Major League Baseball commends our partners in the Home Plate Project, including the dozens of Players, who are generously supporting the most vulnerable members of our society. Childhood hunger is an often overlooked issue, and it is incredibly gratifying to see our baseball community once again rising to the occasion during this pandemic.”
Teammates for Kids (www.teammatesforkids.com) began with the support of 67 Major League Baseball players who made a pledge to help kids. Since then, more than 5,000 professional athletes from baseball, football, basketball, hockey, soccer, rodeo and racing have joined the TFK team. Since its inception in 1999, the Teammates for Kids Foundation and its network of thousands of professional athletes has distributed funds to charities focusing on children’s health, education, and inner-city outreach, through building Child Life Zones, supporting youth athletic programs, and funding life-saving surgeries.
Big League Impact (www.BigLeagueImpact.org) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to help meet basic human needs like food, clean water, medical care and shelter, in an effort to restore dignity and hope to people in the US and around the globe. Founded by St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright in 2013, Big League Impact works with 80 MLB players, and has raised more than $4 million for the projects and causes that allow BLI to fulfill its mission.
Area sports, business leaders encourage public to rise up for heroes
St. Louis civic, sports and business leaders have joined to rally the St. Louis community in a region-wide expression of thanks and support for the frontline heroes in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic; and players representing all 30 major league baseball clubs raise nearly $1 million with Garth Brooks “Teammates for Kids Foundation” and “Big League Impact” to distribute food to children in need.
Scroll down for info on the MLB, Big League Impact food drive.
The “Rise Up For Heroes” initiative is asking everyone in the St. Louis community to come together, stand together and salute our frontline heroes as one each night at 7 p.m. in neighborhoods and residential areas. Whether it is stepping outside one’s home, standing on one’s porch or opening a window to express gratitude and respect, the goal is to let everyone know that St. Louis applauds the bravery and commitment for those who are sustaining the health and well-being of everyone in the greater St. Louis metropolitan area.
“Whether it is clapping, singing, dancing or whatever you want to do, as long as it’s safe and responsible, we’re asking everyone on all sides of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers to join in raising the volume and clarity of our gratitude,” said Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo. “It’s an honor to partner with the Cardinals to say thanks to the real heroes in our community, and I know St. Louis will answer the bell and make ‘Rise Up For Heroes’ everything it should be.”
Louie and Fredbird, respectively representing the St. Louis Blues and St. Louis Cardinals, will kick off the program by leading a small caravan over several nights to inspire and showcase St. Louis’ collective gratitude for those in the center of the battle.
“The Cardinals are joining this effort with the Blues to shine the spotlight on today’s heroes, which is where the spotlight belongs,” said Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright. “From the thousands and thousands of brave healthcare workers to the staffs at your local grocery and pharmacy, first responders, transportation employees, postal and delivery personnel, teachers and more, let’s do the right thing and recognize everyone who is keeping St. Louis moving.”
The pop-up caravan will visit a few neighborhoods each night and complete its short route by ending at one of the member hospitals established of the regional COVID-19 task force. The launch events are being carefully planned to follow all CDC guidelines and represent a partnership with key governmental agencies.
The program asks the community to join in the following ways:
- Rise up each night at 7 p.m. throughout the St. Louis region – in Missouri and Illinois alike – by coming outside to express your gratitude to the frontline heroes of the COVID-19 battle.
- Contribute to the COVID-19 Regional Response Fund, which is serving a wide group of local agencies stepping up to support those with the greatest needs. Links will be on RiseUpForHeroes.org
- Sign up to donate blood if you are eligible to help the American Red Cross avoid more dramatic shortages in the coming months. Visit redcrossblood.org for information.
- Show other expressions of support by visiting RiseUpForHeroes.com, posting videos and photos, developing signs, displaying blue lights, adding bears in your windows or any other form of thanks to magnify our appreciation.
- Follow the guidelines of the local health officials to help fight the spread of COVID-19.
Keith Alper, entrepreneur and CEO of the Nitrous Effect, pulled together the Blues, Cardinals and other key supporters to make “Rise Up For Heroes” a reality.
“We saw a groundswell of support building for our local frontline heroes in the fight against COVID-19 intensified, and we wanted to take it to another level,” Alper said. “The ‘Rise Up For Heroes’ campaign is intended to be a spark for continuing to grow our region’s recognition and collective fight to make a difference.”