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Twins emphasize giving back during holidays

From Week of Giving to on-the-ground efforts in Puerto Rico, charity is central to organization
MLB.com @RhettBollinger

MINNEAPOLIS -- With the holiday season in full swing, the Twins have been busy in the community, including their 12th annual Holiday Week of Giving, which ran from Dec. 11-15.

The week-long event saw front-office members and former Twins such as Hall of Famer Rod Carew and Justin Morneau go into the community for a different cause each day. But the Twins weren't only active in Minnesota, as Eddie Rosario, Kennys Vargas and Jose Berrios have all been raising funds and helping their communities in their native Puerto Rico.

MINNEAPOLIS -- With the holiday season in full swing, the Twins have been busy in the community, including their 12th annual Holiday Week of Giving, which ran from Dec. 11-15.

The week-long event saw front-office members and former Twins such as Hall of Famer Rod Carew and Justin Morneau go into the community for a different cause each day. But the Twins weren't only active in Minnesota, as Eddie Rosario, Kennys Vargas and Jose Berrios have all been raising funds and helping their communities in their native Puerto Rico.

The week started with volunteers helping pack lunches at Sheridan Story Food Packing, which helps provide food for Minnesota students who lack reliable access. Twins mascot T.C. Bear joined the event to bring some holiday cheer.

On Dec. 12, Twins volunteers met with patients at the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in Minneapolis. Carew, who was in town to receive a lifetime achievement award at the inaugural Minnesota Sports Awards on Dec. 13, took part in the festivities, meeting with cancer patients.

Video: Twins Holiday Week of Giving Day 2

"People talk about autographs, but I've always felt if I can put a smile on someone's face, it's worth it," said Carew, who remains active with his Heart of 29 Campaign to raise awareness for heart health.

On Dec. 13, the Twins volunteered at Sharing and Caring Hands, which is blocks away from Target Field and helps the less fortunate by providing meals, clothing, showers, shelter, transportation, financial assistance, medical assistance, dental care, furniture, school expenses and other miscellaneous needs. T.C. Bear and other front-office members assisted at the event.

Video: Twins Holiday Week of Giving: Day 3

Morneau, who still has a home in Minnesota dating from his time with the Twins from 2003-13, joined Carew to assist with the MAC-V Event on Dec. 14 at Target Field, which helped homeless veterans meet with medical care resource providers and register for assistance and shelter programs. MAC-V helped serve 1,810 veterans in Minnesota last year.

"For people who have done so much for other people and sacrificed so much, it's nice to come out and spend some time with them," Morneau said. "To be part of such a great event and day like this is the least I could do."

Video: Twins Holiday Week of Giving Day 4

The final day saw volunteers tutor students at Reading Partners Tutoring, which works with the Minneapolis and St. Paul school districts to ensure more students are obtaining grade-level reading skills.

Meanwhile, in Puerto Rico, Rosario helped families affected by Hurricane Maria in his hometown of Guayama. Rosario brought supplies to those in need and met individually with local families.

Berrios and Vargas also are partnering with Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez and the organization Promesa de Reyes to distribute toys on Three Kings Day on Jan. 6 to poor communities on the island. The goal is to raise $25,000 to buy toys from local merchants to help the economy and distribute gifts to those in need.

Tweet from @twinsbeisbol: Nuestro @EddieRosario09 ayudando en su natal Guayama, Puerto Rico a las familias afectadas tras el hurac��n. ��Estamos orgullosos de ti Eddie! 👏👏👏 #TwinsBeisbol pic.twitter.com/9YccelRLv7

"This initiative makes sure children from disadvantaged communities will get toys for the holidays." Berrios said.

Three Kings Day, also known as Epiphany, is an important holiday in Puerto Rico, as children fill a box with grass or hay under their bed for the Wise Men's camels and receive a gift in return.

"We need to preserve our traditional holidays so the children don't lose their sense of community and belonging," Vargas said.

Tweet from @corte4: El jugador de los @twinsbeisbol, @kennys_vargas, visit�� su pueblo de Can��vanas para distribuir provisiones tras el paso del Hurac��n Mar��a. ��Excelente iniciativa del joven boricua! @MDRSportsMgmt 🙌 pic.twitter.com/FgIpg8loFd

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.

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