Minor League Baseball teams represent their hometowns and communities throughout the United States and Canada, from small towns to metropolitan cities. Because of this, MiLB is dedicated to supporting and giving back to those communities with a variety of national initiatives and programs, not just during the baseball season, but year-round.
This August marks the fourth consecutive year Minor League Baseball will celebrate MiLB CommUNITY Month, and the second consecutive year that Allegiant is serving as the initiative's presenting partner. Nearly 100 MiLB teams will be participating in the initiative by hosting events in their ballparks and communities. Teams' efforts in the MiLB CommUNITY initiative include meal packaging, food drives, hospital visits, fundraisers and home building, among many others.
Minor League Baseball teams are leading by example while urging fans to be active in their communities and promote unity, understanding, acceptance and inclusion. While many teams involve their players and staff in their charitable activities, others include their fans. For the second consecutive year, the Connecticut Tigers will host a food drive during their Aug. 16 game to benefit the Catholic Charities Food Pantry, in partnership with the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Norwich. Fans who donate non-perishable food items at the front gate will be entered in a drawing to win a $500 flight voucher courtesy of Allegiant, the "Official Airline of Minor League Baseball." Additionally, CT Tigers players even extend a helping hand by making the actual food delivery to the food pantry.
The Down East Wood Ducks wanted to support the youth in their community, and they are doing just that this season. Each Saturday home game, the Wood Ducks host an auction in which they sell game-used equipment, such as broken bats, and use the funds raised to purchase new sports equipment for the Boys and Girls Club of Kinston. Wood Ducks players make the deliveries to the organization, and they enjoy the opportunity to make a visible impact on children in the Kinston, North Carolina area.
"The players get super involved, and they love getting to experience these days with the kids. Seeing the faces of the kids we get to interact with makes all of this worth it. These kids have very little, and the smallest act of kindness goes a long way," said Alexa Kay, director of marketing for the Wood Ducks.
The Tennessee Smokies also place importance on the youth of their community. This month, the Smokies will host a U.S. Cellular Field Takeover by visiting a local youth baseball complex and give the youth players an all-out Smokies experience. The team will provide its mascot, a public address announcer, inflatables and prizes. They will even host on-field promotions and a mock press conference, giving the young players a chance to feel like a real Tennessee Smokies player.
"We know that what we do daily would not be possible without our community. We always try to stay involved, and we take any chance we have to give back to and play a part in our community," said Tennessee Smokies marketing and community relations manager Connor Pearce.
As an extension of the August initiative, MiLB also hosts community service projects at its special events throughout the year, including the MiLB Partner Summit and the MiLB Innovators Summit (formerly called MiLB Promotional Seminar). During the 2019 MiLB Partner Summit in Brooklyn, New York in July, attendees took to assembly lines to build approximately 2,500 sandwiches to feed the hungry, a record-setting number for a volunteer group. This project was in partnership with the Brooklyn Cyclones and One Sandwich at a Time, who will team up again in August for another project to provide meals to those in need.
In September, MiLB team personnel will travel to El Paso, Texas, for the 2019 MiLB Innovators Summit and participate in the MiLB CommUNITY Service Project, presented by Musco Sports Lighting and Uncle Ray's. There, volunteers will modernize the exterior of the Armed Forces YMCA of El Paso and decorate the interior of its Child Development Center.
For more information about Minor League Baseball Charities, click here.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.