HOUSTON -- While many were still wrapping their minds around the coronavirus pandemic in April not long after the sports world came to a pause, Astros third baseman Alex Bregman was thinking of ways to help people. Bregman helped raise millions of dollars for those in need while rolling up
HOUSTON -- While many were still wrapping their minds around the coronavirus pandemic in April not long after the sports world came to a pause, Astros third baseman Alex Bregman was thinking of ways to help people. Bregman helped raise millions of dollars for those in need while rolling up his sleeves to deliver food himself.
Bregman was named as the Astros' 2020 nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, which is given annually to the Major Leaguer who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field. Bregman is one of the 30 club nominees for the annual award.
"I'm definitely extremely honored and grateful," Bregman said. "There's a lot of people throughout my career who have helped me get to the big leagues and gain this platform to be able to try and make an impact in the community. Really thankful for everyone in Houston who's helped each other out during these tough times during the pandemic and everything that's been going on. You know, you never really set out to win an award or anything. You do it because you want to help people, and for me, that's what it's all about."
What began as an initial donation of 1,000 quarantine food kits equating to 28,000 meals to the Houston Food Bank by Bregman and his fiancée, Reagan Howard, grew into a food drive that raised nearly $2 million. On April 10, Bregman, in conjunction with his new "Bregman Cares" charity, launched #FEEDHOU, a campaign to raise $1 million for the Houston Food Bank to help feed struggling Houston residents during the COVID-19 crisis. Every dollar donated provides three meals for families in need.
Bregman challenged himself and the community to a new goal of $2 million, encouraging supporters to spend time volunteering at local food distribution sites and the Houston Food Bank itself. To help reach the goal, Bregman hosted a 24-hour charity livestream gaming event on Twitch that featured appearances from Astros teammates along with MLB, NFL and MMA stars, amassing over 800,000 views and raising $57,000 for #FEEDHOU. The gaming event helped provide an additional 150,000 meals for Houston families.
"I think everyone in Houston rallying around each other was amazing to see and amazing to see people help their neighbors be kind, be giving during such a tough time for everybody," Bregman said.
Bregman and Howard have also donated more than 100 lunches to first responders at Houston Methodist Hospital. Bregman also enlisted the support of University of Houston students in designing #FEEDHOU shirts, which were sold to raise additional dollars for the Houston Food Bank.
In addition to his #FEEDHOU campaign, Bregman has been active in recent years supporting several non-profit organizations, including autism research efforts, youth baseball and softball and more. In recent weeks, Bregman has turned his attention towards Louisiana, where he played college baseball at LSU. The southwest portion of the state was devastated by Hurricane Laura last month.
Bregman has teamed up with Brothers Produce to help send trucks of food to the area.
"It's super sad," Bregman said. "There needs to be move coverage of what happened down there. It's devastating. I think 97 percent of schools are impacted. I don't think kids will be able to get back to schools until the spring or next fall. They're without power and water. Our focus right now is trying to help them as much as we can."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.