SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, April 18, 2018 – Major League players today announced they are providing a $200,000 grant from their collective charity, the Major League Baseball Players Trust, to aid Feeding America’s efforts to distribute food and supplies in areas remaining in extreme need in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The grant is part of the Players Trust’s “Returning Home” initiative, in which Major Leaguers combine resources to support the places they call home, especially during times of need.
This $200,000 grant, which will benefit four food banks with service areas directly affected by the storms in Florida and Puerto Rico, is part of $1 million the Players Trust earmarked for natural disaster relief funding in the fall of 2017 following a string of natural disasters across America.
In addition to purchasing food and supplies, a portion of the Players Trust grant will help underwrite additional local staff support for Banco de Alimentos de Puerto Rico, a member of Feeding America.
“I am extremely excited to be playing games where I call home,” said Twins pitcher Jose Berrios, who is originally from Bayamón. “The devastation of Hurricane Irma and Maria has been very difficult for all of us. To have an opportunity to play games and bring some smiles and happiness to the island is an honor for me. This contribution is an example that we are committed to continuing to help the island recover.”
Hurricane Maria had reached Category 4 levels when it tore through Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 2017, leaving nearly all of its three million residents without power and causing billions of dollars in damage just two weeks after Hurricane Irma had slammed the island territory.
“We’re excited to be able to partner with an organization that is continuing to assist areas of need and hard-to-reach municipalities to provide food and supplies,” said Indians catcher Roberto Perez, who is from Mayagüez. “The ability to also assist with creating job opportunities on the island to help us rebuild is something we are excited about being a part of. I feel blessed to be able to part of these games.”
“We applaud the Major League players for their generosity and desire to help communities hardest hit by Hurricanes Irma and Maria,” said Andy Wilson, Chief Development Officer at Feeding America. “As communities recover, Feeding America remains committed to providing food and emergency supplies so that families have the strength and nourishment to rebuild.”
Feeding America, based in Chicago, is a nationwide network of 200 food banks that provides food and groceries to more than 46 million people through food pantries and meal programs. Through Banco de Alimentos de Puerto Rico’s robust distribution network, the food bank has provided food and relief supplies throughout the island. In the first six months after Hurricane Maria made landfall, Banco de Alimentos de Puerto Rico distributed more than eight million pounds of food—almost matching the total for entire previous year.
A check presentation was scheduled as part of pre-game ceremonies before the game on Wednesday night.
Other non-profits designated to receive portions of the Players Trust’s $1 million disaster relief commitment to date include Pacific Prowler, Water Mission, Habitat for Humanity, Friends of Caritas Cubana, Project Cure/Curando Mexico and United Way Worldwide/Fondos Unidos de Puerto Rico.