Major League Baseball (MLB), the Players Trust and State Farm® are teaming up with Habitat for Humanity International in an effort to build new homes with families in Joplin, Missouri and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which were two of the communities devastated by the tornadoes in April and May of 2011. Nine homes will be built in these communities - five in Joplin; four in Tuscaloosa, with two of them to be framed near Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City in the backdrop of the 83rd MLB All-Star Game.
"Major League Baseball is proud to work alongside the Players Trust, State Farm and Habitat for Humanity in using the global popularity of the Midsummer Classic as a vehicle to raise awareness and offer a sober reminder that the difficult task of rebuilding the communities of Joplin and Tuscaloosa continues to this day," said Tim Brosnan, Executive Vice President, Business, Major League Baseball. "Through our collective commitment and with support from our fans around the world, we hope to give these families and other victims an opportunity to continue the recovery from this devastating tragedy."
"Major Leaguers have a long-standing history of helping their neighbors in need, and they are honored to join forces, through the Players Trust, with Major League Baseball, State Farm and Habitat for Humanity to provide some relief to victims of the devastating tornadoes of 2011," said MLBPA Director of Business Affairs, Tim Slavin. "Given their experiences in responding to natural disasters around the world, the players and the Players Trust know how important it is to let others know that when the media exposure dies down, the needs in these locations do not go away."
"Along with hundreds of families in the areas, we've seen and survived two of the most devastating tornadoes of the decade," said Glenda Beach, State Farm Agency Field Executive for the Joplin area. "Helping families and communities recover requires ongoing commitment and resources. These nine homes represent the hope and commitment of these families and this community to the ongoing recovery of Joplin and Tuscaloosa. We are honored to help."
"As we mark the anniversaries of the tornadoes that struck Tuscaloosa and Joplin we are reminded that recovery is measured in years, not months," said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. "With these nine homes, Major League Baseball, the Players Trust and State Farm are joining this important effort to help families and communities recover. We are grateful for their partnership and commitment to Tuscaloosa and Joplin."
MLB and the MLBPA responded to the disasters last year with an immediate contribution of $200,000 toward relief efforts in the Midwest and Southeast that helped to treat nearly 6,000 people during the critical days and weeks following the tornadoes. As a continuation of efforts with the MLBPA, Major League Baseball also dedicated Game Seven of the 2011 World Series to tornado relief efforts in the Midwest and Southeast.
MLB has been connected to the city of Joplin for a number of years. From 2001 to 2006, Joplin hosted the MLB-sponsored USA Baseball Tournament of Stars, with Joplin citizens serving as host families for the duration of the tournament. Some of the current players who have participated in the Tournament of Stars include Jeff Francoeur, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey and Justin Upton.
For more information about this initiative with Habitat for Humanity and how to support recovery efforts, please visit MLBCommunity.org or Habitat.org.