Heyward donates $200K to Chicago charities

March 20th, 2020

CHICAGO -- A group of Cubs past and present are doing their part to assist those in need during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Outfielder Jason Heyward is the latest to step up, focusing on families impacted by the virus.

Heyward's agency, Excel Sports Management, announced on Wednesday that the outfielder has made a $200,000 donation to a pair of Chicago-based charities. Heyward sent $100,000 to MASK Chicago, which is collecting supplies and meals for affected families, and another $100,000 to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

"[I was] trying to figure out how we could give something back to the city," Heyward said in an interview on ESPN 1000 in Chicago on Friday afternoon. "Try to help the cause, man. I know there's a lot of people, a lot of things that need to still be done, a lot of people that still need help. But, we just wanted to help take care of kids and make sure they have meals."

This comes while Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo -- through his foundation -- has been providing daily warm meals for the nursing staff at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. The hospital is one of the top pediatric providers in the United States, and the food being provided by the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation is coming from Chicago-area restaurants.

A $20 donation can be given simply by texting “HOPE44” to 52000. People looking to contribute also can go to rizzo44.com/donate.

Cubs Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins is also using the funds from his requests on Cameo -- an app where individuals can pay celebrities to record personal messages -- this week to assist Sloan Park workers impacted by the cancellation of Spring Training.

Major League Baseball's 30 teams are also stepping up to help the thousands of seasonal ballpark employees who depend on games for their income. Every team is donating $1 million to help the cause.

"[It’s] a lot of people trying to figure out another way for income, a lot of people trying to figure out, in general, how are they going to make up for not having that money accounted for,” Heyward told ESPN 1000. "So, I just wanted to make sure I could get something done. And, of course, MLB stepped in and did their part with the teams and taking care of the employees."

In terms of staying prepared for whenever the baseball season resumes, Heyward said he is trying to stick to a daily routine right now. The outfielder is going for morning walks with his fiancée, getting his workout in and being careful to stay self-isolated with his family for the time being.

Heyward said baseball players are trained and conditioned to fight through health issues due to the length of a season. He pointed out that that is not the proper approach at the moment.

"Right now, it's like, 'All right, well, you can't really fight through this one,'" Heyward said. "The best thing to do and the best way to fight is to be smart and distance yourself from people, and just kind of be ready to resume when it is time to resume.

"Obviously, it goes without saying, man, that we hope that happens sooner than later, but more than anything, you just want to make sure they get it right and are careful."