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Yanks lend hand to local Bronx businesses

@BryanHoch
December 22, 2020

Like good teammates, the Yankees are continuing to support their neighbors. The team announced on Tuesday that it will fund the purchases of local goods and services in the 161st Street corridor around Yankee Stadium, with all items selected by and provided to community groups that serve Bronx residents in

Like good teammates, the Yankees are continuing to support their neighbors. The team announced on Tuesday that it will fund the purchases of local goods and services in the 161st Street corridor around Yankee Stadium, with all items selected by and provided to community groups that serve Bronx residents in need.

As part of a "Business to Community" initiative, the Yankees have committed $50,000 in winter spending with local businesses around the Stadium in the form of 10 separate $5,000 awards. The level of support and the selected businesses were determined by the Bronx's 16th Council District, led by Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson.

"The Yankees recognize the dire economic consequences wrought by COVID-19 in the vibrant neighborhood surrounding Yankee Stadium, and we are excited to move forward on this initiative, which provides tangible help to local businesses, Bronx residents and the organizations which serve them," said Brian Smith, the Yankees' senior vice president of corporate/community relations.

According to the team, the majority of the commitment will be directed toward local restaurants and food providers. One such location is the Yankee Tavern, a popular pre- and post-game meeting spot for fans located one block east of the Stadium.

"We are extremely appreciative of this support from the Yankees," said Yankee Tavern owner Joe Bastone. "The COVID epidemic has been devastating to our business, especially with the closure of indoor dining. The Yankee Tavern has been a part of the fabric of this neighborhood for 93 years, and it means a lot that the Yankees are doing something to help us carry on our tradition."

The Yankees are working on the initiative in conjunction with the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS). It continues the team's efforts to provide aid to local residents as they cope with the COVID-affected economy during the holiday season, including $200,000 worth of food vouchers to help families in preparing their holiday meals, 68,000 pounds of food donated directly to those in need and holiday gifts for thousands of children.

"Many of our small business owners along the 161st Street corridor are immigrant entrepreneurs and people of color that have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic," Gibson said. "With little aid from the federal government and a decrease in revenue, many of these businesses are on the brink of being financially destitute. They could be forced to close next year permanently. The $50,000 in economic support from the New York Yankees will provide relief to these Mom and Pop stores while also giving back to our community."

In November, as part of the Yankees' Thanksgiving Food Voucher Initiative, the team and Krasdale Foods provided approximately 4,000 $25 food vouchers to assist local families with their Thanksgiving meals. Those were distributed through more than 30 local community organizations, with help from the Food Bank for New York City.

Another 4,100 $25 food vouchers were similarly provided to local community groups as part of the Yankees' Annual Holiday Voucher Initiative in December, including 500 vouchers allocated to The Players Alliance "Pull Up Neighbor" event on Dec. 1 at Mullaly Park. The Yankees also continued their longstanding Annual Holiday Food Drive, filling two tractor trailers with 68,000 lbs. of food.

The Yankees also held their 11th annual Winter Wonderland toy event on Dec. 11. Because of the pandemic, toys were given directly to local community partners, which distributed them to thousands of children throughout December. Walmart and Clancy Moving assisted in those efforts.

"We remain steadfast in our commitment to the community, even though COVID considerations have forced us to find creative alternatives to our traditional in-person methods of support," Smith said.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.