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MLB creates kits to lend fun support for kids

MLB.com @DeeshaThosar

Though it was a rainy and gloomy Friday morning on the East Coast, dozens of volunteers brought nothing but sunshine to children who wish for it the most.

More than 100 volunteers simultaneously gathered in three locations in New York and New Jersey to pack 1,000 craft kits for children in discomfort at hospitals. Major League Baseball partnered with Project Sunshine for the first time to brighten the days of 300 youth in medical centers across New York and New Jersey, as well as children undergoing cancer treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. 

Though it was a rainy and gloomy Friday morning on the East Coast, dozens of volunteers brought nothing but sunshine to children who wish for it the most.

More than 100 volunteers simultaneously gathered in three locations in New York and New Jersey to pack 1,000 craft kits for children in discomfort at hospitals. Major League Baseball partnered with Project Sunshine for the first time to brighten the days of 300 youth in medical centers across New York and New Jersey, as well as children undergoing cancer treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. 

"Some days, kids' families can't visit because they're working or they're really stressed because they're getting an IV drip for a really long time," said Ashley Krammer, a program assistant for Project Sunshine. "They're waiting for some kind of procedure and they're really bored and frustrated."

Video: MLB, Project Sunshine to host Arts and Crafts event

The Creative Arts and Crafts Kits are care packages used at medical centers when young patients face long hours of isolation, since family members and professionals cannot always be present. The craft kits contain superhero masks that allow children to feel empowered when they are at their most vulnerable. The kit also includes a journal, stickers and markers for children to play and mentally de-stress.

Volunteer events such as this are now part of the culture of Major League Baseball. Employees across the Office of the Commissioner, MLB Network and MLB Advanced Media take part in service activities throughout the year to help build stronger communities by addressing pressing issues.

In the past year, hundreds of employees volunteered at multiple packaging events providing toiletry kits and basic comforts to victims in crisis relief and recovery. More than 10,000 meals were delivered to youth and families in partnership with Rise Against Hunger.

"[MLB] has engaged in volunteer projects for many, many years," said Melanie LeGrande, Vice President of Social Responsibility. "This particular project provided an opportunity for the three offices in unison to work together. It's really special that we can also incorporate a local feel. Some of these kits are going to benefit kids in hospitals in Harlem and Brooklyn."

On Friday, volunteers learned basics of creating the care packages and immediately got to work. In less than an hour, the kits were formed, packaged and ready to be distributed to medical centers. Project Sunshine, a New York City-based nonprofit that began more than 20 years ago, operates programs in five countries and impacts more than 150,000 pediatric patients and their families.

"These packages are really helpful in a hospital setting where kids often feel small and stressed. It's a good outlet for children to express themselves and feel strong," Krammer said.

Deesha Thosar is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @DeeshaThosar.