Slugging outfielder Nelson Cruz became the first Major League ambassador of the “Baseball Cares” initiative in the Dominican Republic last week (Jan. 22) when his cash donation was parlayed into mobility equipment to help disabled people get around his hometown of Las Matas de Santa Cruz and surrounding communities in the province of Monte Cristi.
In the past, Cruz, like many Dominican-born players, would purchase much-needed items like wheel chairs, used medical equipment, ambulances, and fireman equipment from the United States and have it shipped to the Dominican Republic.
Baseball Cares, a partnership announced in February 2015 between the Players Association, MLB and the federal government, made it possible for Cruz to donate in a more effective manner, ensuring a larger percentage of his donations go directly to helping the needy. In this instance, he was able to donate 35 wheel chairs, 12 sets of crutches, 10 walking canes and six walkers to help the approximately 60 people with disabilities that affect their mobility.
During the presentation event, medical personnel were also on hand, providing screenings and assessments as well as assisting people fill out forms to get medical insurance cards.
Later that day, Cruz donated equipment from the Seattle Fire Department to firefighters in his hometown.
To learn more about what individual players are doing to support the causes close to their hearts, please click here.