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Jeter, Marlins give back with meal boxes

@cdenicola13
November 23, 2020

MIAMI -- Annual traditions have had to be adjusted over the course of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Monday afternoon was no exception at the 12th annual Home Plate Meals Thanksgiving distribution, where the Marlins handed out 1,000 meal boxes via a drive-thru outside Marlins Park. Marlins owner

MIAMI -- Annual traditions have had to be adjusted over the course of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Monday afternoon was no exception at the 12th annual Home Plate Meals Thanksgiving distribution, where the Marlins handed out 1,000 meal boxes via a drive-thru outside Marlins Park.

Marlins owner Bruce Sherman, CEO Derek Jeter, pitchers Pablo López and Daniel Castano and former players Álex González and Gaby Sanchez were among those giving back to the community from a safe distance.

López, who became a first-time uncle two months ago, understands the uniqueness of the times. He hasn't been able to see his nephew in Venezuela because of the pandemic. Instead, López FaceTimes with his sister several times a week trying to make the baby laugh.

"We're a family," López said of the Marlins and their fans. "We're all Miami, so taking this opportunity to let them know and support them, just like how they supported us during the season, really means a lot."

With the support of Feeding South Florida and sponsor Tito's Handmade Vodka, each meal box contained approximately 40 pounds of food -- including items for a family Thanksgiving dinner like turkey and canned vegetables -- and overall the event was expected to serve more than 20,000 meals.

"This is awesome. The Marlins do a great job of putting this stuff on and giving us opportunities to volunteer," said Castano, who brought one of his gloves in the hopes of giving it to a little fan. "The Marlins put a big priority on it, as they should. I'm just happy to be here and to give back a little bit to these families."

Since the launch of the Home Plate Meals Relief Fund on April 2, the Miami Marlins Foundation has committed more than 695,000 meals to the South Florida community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this month, Marlins outfielder Lewis Brinson joined in the organization’s “Feed the Polls” initiative during Election Day, providing 4,000 meals to select Miami polling locations in Liberty City and Little Havana.

"We said early on when we took over the organization that we wanted to be the community's team, and part of that is being here to support the community," Jeter said. "We're very happy with what we've been able to do during this year. We'll continue to do that. ...

"We've gotten a lot of support. Our partners have supported us through a tough year for them as well. This is what we should be doing. This is what makes us feel good as an organization. You see a lot of our volunteers that are out here throughout the organization. They understand it's impactful, and they understand that it's important."

Christina De Nicola covers the Marlins for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @CDeNicola13.