Home Plate Project: MLB Players Team Up to Feed Kids Affected By COVID-19 School Closures
A league-wide initiative by all 30 MLB clubs and over 50 Major League players will provide more than 4 million meals to students, fighting childhood hunger in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Home Plate Project — which has raised nearly $1 million — is a partnership between Big League Impact, Garth Brooks’ Teammates for Kids Foundation and Major League Baseball.
“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,” Melanie LeGrande, Major League Baseball’s Vice President of Social Responsibility said. “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.”
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, now in its second year.
“Coming together with Garth and his foundation last year for our Home Plate Project was incredibly powerful,” Big League Impact co-founder Adam Wainwright said. “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 led 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.”
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.
“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,” country music superstar Garth Brooks said. “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.”
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, the Home Plate Project was able to raise $937,100 for the effort.
“At Big League Impact, we are always trying to find ways to help players raise money and have an impact in their home cities,” Big League Impact Vice President Kyle Gibson said. “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!”
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, Trevor Story
- 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