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Chihuahuas lend helping hand to El Paso nonprofits

With new program, team, staff find way to give back to community
The staff of the El Paso Chihuahuas has been helping out nonprofit organizations throughout the community during the COVID-19 crisis. (El Paso Chihuahuas)
@brianjstultz
July 22, 2020

Brad Taylor was not worried about a lack of responsiveness when he asked his fellow El Paso Chihuahuas employees to volunteer for the community during this pandemic. No, he knew that they were hankering to pitch in however they could. "They jumped at the opportunity to help and realized it

Brad Taylor was not worried about a lack of responsiveness when he asked his fellow El Paso Chihuahuas employees to volunteer for the community during this pandemic. No, he knew that they were hankering to pitch in however they could.

"They jumped at the opportunity to help and realized it was a chance to give back, and to also be appreciative for what we have here with our group,” the senior vice president and general manager of the Padres' Triple-A affiliate said. “We know the culture of our staff is right.”

That culture is the pride of the organization, and a driving force behind a joint effort with the city's United Soccer League club (both franchises are owned by MountainStar Sports Group). Through The Chihuahuas Volunteer Pack and Locomotive Heart of the Goal, local nonprofit entities can request assistance from either team, and staff members are happy to fill whatever needs they can.

“They were eager, chomping at the bit, and I think for some of them, it's a real chance to kind of shine in a different environment, which is awesome,” Taylor said.

Those environments vary. From website and social media to delivering meals to homeless veterans and a number of tasks between, Chihuahuas employees have thrived putting in time in several roles. The way Taylor sees it, no job is too small when it comes to helping out in the community.

“It's really kind of run a pretty wide spectrum of things," he said. "But we have the bandwidth, the man-hours and the physical power to do it right now, so there's really nothing we've said no to if we can help.”

As far as he's concerned, the endeavor is a 2020 manifestation of MountainStar Sports Group's general philosophy.

For Chihuahuas employees, the summer of 2020 has offered opportunities to help out outside the ballpark. El Paso Chihuahuas

“They've always been extremely responsible and completely generous people in this community,” Taylor said. In a year of widespread hardship, a new question arises. “What can we do to carry that mission forward?"

The answer, according to Taylor, was as simple as a fly ball to center field.

“Let's take the gambit of expertise we have across the baseball staff, which could be sales, marketing, computer graphics, website construction, maintenance, whatever, sales, and help these 501(c)(3)s to maybe have a little bit more, since they're always operating so tightly fiscally,” he said. “We thought if we can give some of the things we're good at to them in a way that helps them get better with limited staff themselves and in a time when giving could be down, maybe it's money they can save, but they can still get better, so that when things open back up and, hopefully, get normal again, they're more poised to be ready to help our community even more than they already have.”

According to Taylor’s estimates, close to four dozen nonprofits have contacted the club, and employees have put in more than 150-to-200 hours since the genesis of the idea. For the baseball team that is beloved in the West Texas town, the efforts are about representing themselves in a way that measures up to how they want to be seen throughout the region.

“Our staff has always been a responsibly community-minded staff that takes care of helping the community, and that's our mission,” Taylor said. “We know that we have a responsibility as a pillar in the community as a sports team to help, and that's what we're here to do.”

Lately, El Paso is averaging 250-300 new COVID-19 positive tests per day. The Chihuahuas are urging precautionary measures for any employees who take on tasks that take them out and about in town.

“I'd like to see everybody just be smart, wear a mask, and help each other out, and let's get this thing out of our country and out of the world,” he said. “But I think as our staff can go out and safely help others who are prepared to be safe when we get there, we're OK with that. It doesn't scare us. We want to help.”

Brian Stultz is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @brianjstultz.