SCOTTSDALE, AZ., June 1, 2017 – More than 40 professional baseball players league-wide are coming together on a project called “Striking Out Poverty” that aims to end poverty in El Mirador, one of the Dominican Republic’s most povertystricken communities. The players, with the help of relief organization Food for the Hungry and Athletes Brand, will sport limited-edition t-shirts in city-specific colorways during two-week awareness campaigns to raise money toward a year-end fundraising goal of $95,580 – an amount that would allow El Mirador to become self-sustaining in just ten years’ time.
The outlined fundraising goal would help improve the community’s existing water structure, install a water purification system, and buildings for educational, leadership and farming initiatives, among others. Part of the project’s goal is to show that together, baseball fans, players, and teams can unite to use their love for their sport to change lives forever. The Dominican Republic’s passion for baseball has been wellchronicled, but in the D.R. proper equipment and safe fields often are not that high of a priority since access to clean drinking water and educational resources remain limited.
However, it doesn’t diminish their enthusiasm for the sport, or their selfless lifestyle. “Baseball is life. People breathe baseball here. People don’t have many resources. Even though they’re so poor and humble, the little that they have, they give,” said Gregory Polanco, player for the Pittsburgh Pirates and native of the Dominican Republic. In January, a Striking Out Poverty conglomerate went to the Dominican Republic to better familiarize themselves with the project.
The trip afforded attendees the opportunity to meet with community leaders, Pictured (L to R): Roberto Clemente, Jr., Starling Marte (PIT), Rob Refsnyder (NYY), Gregory Polanco (PIT) & Moises Sierra see completed projects, visit with families and learn more about the needs ahead. A strong emphasis was placed on interacting with community members and seeing, hearing and experiencing the challenges that are faced every day. Trip attendees included several professional baseball players, baseball ambassador Roberto Clemente, Jr., TV host Adam Richman, and officials from both Food for the Hungry and Athletes Brand.
The trip culminated in a game of baseball being with the children of the community – on a field where they had just helped complete the construction of a baseball backstop. Players in attendance believe that the Striking Out Poverty campaign can play a critical role in raising awareness for the current state of poverty within the Dominican Republic.
“I didn’t know that they didn’t have clean water; that was shocking to me… I wouldn’t want to drink that (water). I went to places I know I wouldn’t have gone without Food for the Hungry. To see smiles on kids’ faces, little girls coming up giving me hugs, little boys high-fiving, playing baseball with me… It was amazing.” said Dee Gordon of the Miami Marlins. “I’m hearing and seeing baseball as such a huge part of the culture. You just take for granted the baseball fields that you grew up on,” added Rob Refsnyder, infielder for the New York Yankees. Shirts in the colorways of Oakland, San Francisco, San Diego, Kansas City and St. Louis can be purchased via www.KPoverty.com and will be available until Wednesday, June 14.
The hashtag #KPoverty will be used on social media platforms to support awareness efforts throughout all two-week campaigns. A full schedule of the release dates for all city participants can be found below. For more information about the campaign visit AthletesBrand.com ### About Food for the Hungry Food for the Hungry is a 501(c)3 non-profit relief organization dedicated to fighting extreme poverty.
Their work is largely based on the belief that every individual is of worth, and they personify this notion by working directly with the most vulnerable people on earth for purposeful relief and development. Launched in 1971, Food for the Hungry offer access to life-changing resources such as clean water, medical aid, food, equal educational opportunities to girls and boys, vocational training and empowerment amid unimaginable hardships. Visit http://www.fh.org and follow them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/foodforthehungry) and Twitter (@Food4TheHungry). About Athletes Brand Athletes Brand is an athlete-run fashion brand that crafts clothing for athletes’ everyday needs away from their sport. Its mission is to help athletes use their power of influence to make a difference in the world through sports, fashion, art, and philanthropy. Visit https://www.athletesbrand.com and follow them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat: @AthletesBrand.
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