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Royals' Crow joins Mission to feed hungry in KC

Reliever part of team contingent to serve Thanksgiving meals to those in need
MLB.com @KCKaegel

KANSAS CITY -- Aaron Crow spent part of Thursday making life a bit better for others in a shelter. He'll spend much of this winter trying to make things better for himself on the mound.

Crow, a Kansas City reliever for the last four years, pitched in with a crew from the Royals' work force to serve a Thanksgiving meal to folks in need at the City Union Mission of Kansas City. Crow's group waited on 225 diners at the Men's Center, and another group of Royals associates served 85 at the Family Center.

KANSAS CITY -- Aaron Crow spent part of Thursday making life a bit better for others in a shelter. He'll spend much of this winter trying to make things better for himself on the mound.

Crow, a Kansas City reliever for the last four years, pitched in with a crew from the Royals' work force to serve a Thanksgiving meal to folks in need at the City Union Mission of Kansas City. Crow's group waited on 225 diners at the Men's Center, and another group of Royals associates served 85 at the Family Center.

More meals than that were served, though, because there were requests for seconds and thirds.

The men are homeless, unemployed and hungry. The families are dispossessed, broke and hungry.

"They're hurting," said Dennis Chapman, the mission's chief development officer.

For the last nine years, the Royals have provided some comfort in the form of a Thanksgiving meal. This year's turnout, as a cold snap hit Kansas City, was the largest in years, creating an overflow in the dining areas.

"The mission is celebrating its 90th year, and I've been saying for the 13 years I've been here, that the City Union Mission is part of the fabric of the city, just like the Kansas City Royals and the Kansas City Chiefs," Chapman said.

The mission is currently conducting a fund-raising effort called "Feed KC Now," with the endorsement of Royals general manager Dayton Moore, Chiefs general manager John Dorsey, and Sporting KC soccer COO Greg Cotton.

Before Crow donned an apron and started carrying trays of food, he reflected on his joy over the Royals' American League championship and his disappointment at being left off the postseason roster, including for the World Series.

"From my standpoint, hearing Kelvin [Herrera], Wade [Davis] and Greg [Holland] get all the attention they got, if you're competitive at all, you're going to get a little jealous of that," Crow said, referring to the celebrated back-end trio of the bullpen.

Video: TEX@KC: Crow fans Sardinas to secure the save

"I was a big part of the bullpen for most of the year. During the playoffs, you get days off so those guys could pitch every day. But during the regular season, those guys need days off and you need other guys to come in and get the job done. And I was the guy that was called on more often than not. And some of the guys that made the postseason roster weren't in the big leagues hardly at all this season, they really didn't help us get to the point where we were, so it kind of bothered me a little bit.

"But I pitched poorly at the end of the year, so there's nobody to blame but myself. Going into next year, I definitely want to get better and be a part of that roster next year."

In short, he's strongly motivated and began workouts this week to get a headstart on making an impression at Spring Training in February.

Crow was serving meals at the mission for the third year.

"It makes you realize that not everyone is as lucky as I was when I was a kid and I am now," he said. "It makes you feel good to give back and help people out. They're always supporting the Royals, so if I can help them out and support them, it makes me feel good."

In addition to dishing out meals, Crow had to provide some answers and some autographs, too, for the men's gathering.

"They don't hold anything back," Crow said. "They ask questions and joke around, so it's fun."

Crow took time to pose with a portrait drawn by a former client of the mission, Alexander Justin, who has left it behind and become a prominent artist. He's donated portraits of Royals players to the mission, some of which are autographed and are offered for sale at $1,000 each to benefit the mission. For information on availability, contact dennis.chapman@cityunionmission.org.

"That will feed a lot of people," Chapman said.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kansas City Royals, Aaron Crow