Jr. RBI lends hand to The Giving Fields
CINCINNATI -- Players and coaches participating in the Jr. RBI Classic took time to give back to the community on Saturday.
The participating players and coaches from the 12 teams volunteered at The Giving Fields on Saturday as part of the entire Jr. RBI Classic experience. The volunteers conducted yard work to help maintain the farm -- located in Melbourne, Ky. -- and put together seed kits.
The Giving Fields is a community farm that provides fresh produce for Northern Kentucky food pantries, soup kitchens and other agencies that provide emergency food. Molly Jordan, The Giving Fields farm manager, said the organization relies heavily on volunteer work, making the contribution from the Jr. RBI players and coaches extremely important for the farm.
"Volunteers are the lifeline of The Giving Fields and of the free store," Jordan said. "I am the only paid employee here at The Giving Fields, so I rely on my volunteers for basically helping me do everything. From harvesting, maintenance [or] pulling weeds, volunteers help me run the farm."
The players' work didn't go unnoticed by Roberto Clemente Jr., who made an appearance during the community service event to talk to the kids about their volunteering efforts. Clemente Jr., son of Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, started the RBI program in Pittsburgh and Puerto Rico, and he said he wanted to come out to The Giving Fields on Saturday to play a role in the kids' complete Jr. RBI Classic experience.
"It is very important what the kids are doing," Clemente Jr. said. "This is a great program. It is teaching them about giving and being able to give to others, and I think the experience for all these kids coming from all over the country, it's really amazing."
Clemente Jr. went on to express his support for the entire RBI program and its ability to help young individuals not only become better players on the field but outside of it as well.
"It goes beyond baseball, absolutely," Clemente Jr. said. "It's becoming a rounded person and becoming a part of the community, understanding community service and it's a big, big deal. It's not only about baseball, but it's about life."
Dresden Penn, a player on Driving Park Youth Baseball RBI of Columbus, Ohio, was shoveling gravel into wheelbarrows to help support and maintain the deer prevention fence at the farm on Saturday. He ranked the community service activity pretty high on the list of events he participated in this week, and he felt good about helping out the less fortunate.
"It's nice, because we get to help them out, so animals and things like that don't get in and take the food that other people need to eat," Penn said. "It's just a nice cause that we are doing."
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