CLEVELAND -- Justin Masterson has always expressed a passion for giving back, because the game of baseball has given him so much.
The Indians pitcher has dedicated his time away from the diamond to find different ways to contribute through various charitable avenues. On Monday, it was announced that Masterson and his wife, Meryl, have teamed with Bright Hope and Moody Radio Cleveland (103.3 FM), joining an initiative to help those living in the Nairobi, Kenya, slum of Mathare Valley.
"God gives us gifts and we are to use them for His purposes," Masterson said in a news release. "I'm looking forward to contributing to what God is doing through Bright Hope."
Masterson, who is the son of a pastor, and his wife are currently leading the Feed Their Future campaign, which is dedicated to helping the 1,400 students living in Mathare Valley and enrolled in one of four schools that Bright Hope supports. The campaign began on July 1 and runs through Aug. 16, and is aimed at raising $140,000 to help feed and educate those students for one year.
According to the release, the first week of the Feed Their Future program raised $18,220.
Money raised for this campaign provides the children with two meals a day (six times per week), plus the chance to attend school by offering support for teachers' salaries, textbooks, teaching materials and uniforms.
"We are thrilled to have Justin join the Bright Hope team," said C.H. Dyer, Bright Hope's president and chief executive officer, in a statement. "We are thankful for his heart for children in need and desire to bring greater awareness to the reality of life for one out of seven people in our world living in extreme poverty."
Masterson has embarked on charitable trips to the Dominican Republic in past offseasons. In the coming November, the pitcher will join a team visiting Mathare Valley in Kenya to help serve meals, and to interact and encourage the kids supported by the campaign.
"Meryl and I have received many blessings in this life," Masterson said, "and strongly believe that to whom much is given, much is expected. Bright Hope's goal to partner with the local church to help bring transformation to some of the poorest regions of the world is something we are humbled to be a part of."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian.