The coronavirus pandemic has created a threat of a different sort: Hunger. With public schools closing across the country and people isolating themselves at home, those in need have increased difficulty getting food.
“In these difficult times of navigating this pandemic, it is important that we come together as a society to help the most vulnerable members of our communities,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a release. “As an institution, Baseball is extending our commitment to addressing childhood hunger and food availability issues during this crisis. We are grateful for the partnership with our players on this critical issue, which has the potential to deeply affect children and seniors.”
Feeding America will distribute funds to local member food banks in high-need areas across the United States to help feed children and families impacted by school closures and other disruptions.
Meals on Wheels will use the funds to boost organizational capacity of its network to provide in-home meals to senior citizens in need.
MLB and the MLBPA have been navigating many challenges in recent days, given the need to close Spring Training camps and delay the start of the regular season. But while the baseball issues on the table are unprecedented, the two sides also recognized a much more meaningful dilemma faced by a society in crisis.
“Players are eager to do their part both individually and collectively to ease the significant burdens placed on the most vulnerable people in our communities,” MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said. “This contribution represents one of those efforts.”
The MLB and MLBPA donation follows past financial assistance in times of disaster relief and recovery, in the promotion of positive relationship skills and building mental health resiliency, and in human trafficking prevention.
“This donation will help people who struggle to put food on their tables during this pandemic,” Feeding America vice president of corporate partnerships Lauren Biedron said in the release.
Added Meals on Wheels president and CEO Elli Hollander: “It will take all of us coming together to ensure our most at-risk Americans remain healthy, and Major League Baseball and its players have set an example for others by helping us to ensure homebound seniors will continue to receive the meals they desperately need amid this evolving national crisis.”