MINNEAPOLIS -- With the playoff standings set, the players took a break from softball and focused their teamwork on helping those in need.
For the second year in a row, the participants of the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities World Series took part in a community service event. About 150 softball players spent about an hour and a half packing meals for "Kids Against Hunger," a nonprofit organization headquartered in Minnesota that seeks to provide malnourished kids around the world with healthy food.
"Kids Against Hunger has a really measurable impact," RBI administrator Katie Ringel said when the baseball teams did the same event on Thursday. "At the end of the day we know how many kids we're able to feed for how long, exactly where the food is going -- and that kind of motivates the kids who are participating to kind of compete with each other, which makes it really about the outcome."
Over the course of the project, the players put together around 22,800 meals. Each meal is a one-cup serving that provides all the necessary nourishment needed to recover from symptoms of starvation. The organization also announced at the end of the event that all the meals the teams packed will help feed 65 kids a day for a full year. When the baseball teams packed meals they put together around 36,000 meals.
"I think it's cool helping out with different types of things, like food -- last year we did clothes," Houston RBI third baseman Amanda Hernandez said. "I mean, I think it's good helping out."
The players split up into groups of 11 working at 13 stations. Working with members of their own team, packing the meals because a sort of competition, trying to see who could get through more meals than other tables.
"It feels like more of a competition when you're trying to do everything, trying to race everybody else to finish it," Houston RBI shortstop Lauren Molina said.
The event marked just the second year the RBI program worked a community service event into the RBI World Series. They began incorporating the event in last year's 20th anniversary of the World Series.
"We wanted to do something that left a lasting impression in the city that was hosting us," Ringel said. "We thought it was an important lesson that the kids learn that there's always someone who needs more than you do and it's really important to give back to your community."
Kelly Erickson is an associate reporter for MLB.com.