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Cishek using profile to help children in need

@scottmerkin
April 16, 2020

CHICAGO -- There are more renowned celebrities on Cameo, a place where personalized video shoutouts for friends, family members or even yourself can be purchased, than Steve Cishek. The White Sox veteran reliever readily admitted that fact with a laugh during an interview from his Florida home on Thursday. But

CHICAGO -- There are more renowned celebrities on Cameo, a place where personalized video shoutouts for friends, family members or even yourself can be purchased, than Steve Cishek.

The White Sox veteran reliever readily admitted that fact with a laugh during an interview from his Florida home on Thursday. But the 33-year-old right-hander has an altruistic purpose behind his $20 message fee in that all of the money benefits No Kid Hungry.

Originally Cishek was going to donate his Cameo proceeds from April 16-18. But he wants to extend that period for as long as he’s present.

Along with his Cameo work, Cishek said it was a no-brainer to be the White Sox ambassador for the Home Plate Project, a partnership between Major League Baseball, Garth Brooks' Teammates for Kids Foundation and Big League Impact, which was founded by St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright and is currently led by Wainwright and Rangers pitcher Kyle Gibson. Cishek served as the 2019 Cubs ambassador with Daniel Descalso for this cause, and originally was brought into the initiative by Wainwright. The two played together in 2015 with the Cardinals.

“He’s one of the greatest teammates I’ve played with, and his reputation around the league, he’s able to have those connections to help guys get more involved,” said Cishek of Wainwright. “My wife and I jumped on board and so we wanted to be able to help out again, provide meals. It went so great last year that it was kind of a no-brainer for us this year, especially with all this going on.

“We are pretty fortunate where we are at here in Florida. So we felt compelled to be able to help out the city we are going to hopefully play in some day.”

This initiative was scheduled to launch again in the fall, but the conditions brought about by the pandemic produced greater urgency to help more than 20 million students in the United States and Canada who rely on school-provided free or reduced-price meals. This league-wide initiative by all 30 MLB teams and over 50 Major League players has raised $937,100 through the effort on short notice, providing over 4 million meals to support childhood hunger prevention in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A $5,000 donation was given by Cishek and his family, which goes to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

“Then during the season, again hopefully it works out where we get to be in the city, you get to meet some of the kids that have benefited from it,” Cishek said. “I’ll get to meet them on the field or in the dugout or something like that firsthand.

“People are struggling financially. I was just seeing the amount of people who had to file for unemployment this morning, it’s crazy. I feel for them. Yeah, I’m not working, but we get paid pretty well to play this game and someone like me, I’ve played for a while. My wife and I want to make sure we are doing something to help people out. I just wouldn’t be able to sleep on that if I wasn’t helping in some regard.”

As for baseball, Cishek is working at home off a mound he ordered and is wearing a Motus sleeve apparatus monitoring his workload. He’s getting prepared for a possible season, while trying to help those in need.

“Right now, I’m just keeping my arm in shape,” Cishek said. “I’m trying to keep it at a certain level so I can maintain. That way when Spring Training comes around, I’m not getting crushed. I think once things ramp up, I’m going to definitely start linking up with catchers and throwing off the mound.”

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.