Harrison family's generosity helps homeless

Free agent donates house full of furniture, supplies

November 22nd, 2018

PITTSBURGH -- In late September, Josh Harrison and his wife, Brittney, were talking about their future. They knew that if the Pirates declined Harrison's club option, making him a free agent, they would have to move out of their house in Pittsburgh's northern suburbs -- and they'd have to figure out what to do with all the stuff they accumulated over the years.
They didn't see any reason to move everything back home to Cincinnati. They didn't want to put it in storage and move it wherever Harrison signs this offseason. They didn't want to sell it or even give it away to someone who would. Finally, they settled on a solution.
"We just wanted to make sure that those who need it had an opportunity to get it," Harrison said.
Bucs give back to community year-round
That giving spirit ultimately led Harrison and Brittney back to their house last weekend, when they donated a truckload of furniture, supplies and more to Pittsburgh's Light of Life Rescue Mission, which serves the city's homeless and hungry.
Before leaving, the Harrisons found one more way to make a difference in the Pittsburgh community.
"That was home for us for the past however-many years," Harrison said in a phone interview this week. "Considering where we were, we were like, 'Man, we know there are people in Pittsburgh that can use it.' It was just a matter of finding somebody."
So Harrison sought out Robby Incmikoski, the Pirates' sideline reporter for AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh. Every season, Incmikoski collects unused bar soap during the Bucs' road trips and asks players to donate theirs. And every November, Incmikoski donates that soap and serves dinner at the Extravagant Love Makeover Project, which provides a day of pampering for women from shelters throughout the city.
Harrison is one of several players who regularly donates his soap, and Incmikoski was the first person he thought to ask. Incmikoski served as a liaison between the Harrisons and the Light of Life Rescue Mission, and they scheduled a pickup at the Harrisons' place on Saturday.
Director of operations Tom Mitlo and his son, Tyler, brought a 26-foot U-Haul truck and three men in Light of Life's recovery program to help load it. They were blown away by the size of the Harrisons' donation: an entire living room set, a kitchen table and chairs, two full bedroom sets, lamps, cleaning supplies, boxes full of household items, dishes, silverware, diapers and non-perishable food. They filled the truck from front to back.
The Harrisons had been in that house for two years and lived in the Wexford area since about 2013, Harrison said, the year before he broke out in an All-Star '14 campaign and earned a four-year contract extension from the Pirates. They stayed up late Friday night to pack and returned to Cincinnati with only a pod containing mostly things that belong to their young daughters, Mia and Kinsli.
"Pretty much everything, they were able to use," Harrison said. "They were able to come pick it up, and we know that it's going to help people in need and they don't have to worry about paying for it."
The Harrisons' generosity will have an impact. In addition to providing daily meals and emergency shelter, Light of Life offers its donations at no cost to people and families in need -- single mothers, men in recovery programs, victims of domestic violence and families who lost their homes in fires or other disasters.
The Harrisons' attitude on Saturday morning also left an impression.
"Josh couldn't have been cooler," Mitlo said. "He was so nice, and so, equally, was his wife. She couldn't have been more awesome."
When Harrison heard that the men who loaded the truck were fans of the Pirates, he made one last donation: a baseball card, signed, for each one of them.
"They came and got to work, man," Harrison said. "It was just a token of my appreciation for them helping."