Ripken Foundation helps in fight against hunger

July 1st, 2020

HOUSTON -- They lined up on Tuesday to receive the packages of fish and chicken, for the bundles of fresh vegetables and for the assorted snacks. In all, 65 families in Northwest Houston received a week’s worth of food.

Better to light a candle than curse the darkness, right? This isn’t the kind of enterprise Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. envisioned in 2001 when he formed a foundation to honor his late father.

His original mission for the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation was going to be all about baseball. That’s what he knew best and what he loved most. In the last two decades, diamonds have been built and parks refurbished with the idea of giving kids an opportunity to play, especially at-risk youth.

Along the way, Ripken hoped there’d be some life lessons in there as well. Now, with the nation’s pandemic having shut down hundreds of youth baseball programs, the Ripken Foundation has shifted to a more pressing need: hunger.

This week, it partnered with SpringSpirit, Eden Green Technology and Performance Foodservice of Houston in an effort that began with a telephone call from Kenny Baldwin, the founder of SpringSpirit, a Houston-based organization that works with youth.

“When Kenny reached out and told us that they were dealing with food insecurity in their community we wanted to help as quickly as possible,” Ripken said. “We have temporarily shifted our focus to help in this fight, and the families affiliated with SpringSpirit are a wonderful group that we wanted to assist.”

Baldwin said, “The Ripken Foundation is always there when our program needs assistance, and for that we are grateful.”

Baldwin is a member of the Ripken Foundation board of directors, and in 2011, the two organizations partnered to construct a park of multi-purpose fields for their programs.

“We believe this is just the first of many opportunities to provide local produce to communities in need, not just in Texas, but around the nation,” said Eddy Badrina, CEO of Eden Green Technology.