The Baltimore Orioles and OriolesREACH, the ballclub's charitable arm, are teaming up with Sarasota County charities to fight hunger in the local community. The first initiative will benefit the Mayors' Feed the Hungry Program through a 12-day food drive and a sorting day hosted on November 16 at Ed Smith Stadium, the Orioles' year-round training facility and home for the Spring Training season.
"Families and individuals in Sarasota County are desperately in need of assistance to address a most basic need: food," said Laura Williams, Orioles' Director of Florida Operations. "The Orioles and OriolesREACH join the Mayors' Feed the Hungry Program in urging local residents to bring donations of non-perishable food items to Ed Smith Stadium starting on November 5, and then volunteer to help sort and package food on November 16."
The Mayors' Feed the Hungry Program is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization that has helped more than 370,000 hungry persons in Sarasota and Manatee counties since 1987. The organization's Thanksgiving food drive collects approximately 34 tons of non-perishable food items annually. Food is distributed through charitable groups, religious institutions and service agencies. Mayors' Feed the Hungry also uses cash donations to distribute food gift cards.
"Mayors' Feed the Hungry does not receive government funds, and we are all volunteers. Corporate partners like the Baltimore Orioles are vital to serving the thousands of local residents who would go hungry without our help," said Scott Biehler, Vice Chairman of the charity. The program is endorsed by the mayors of Sarasota, Bradenton, Palmetto, Venice, and Longboat Key, as well as the chairs of the North Port City Council and the Sarasota and Manatee County Commissions.
To drop off food at Ed Smith Stadium starting on November 5, the public may park in short-term spaces along Euclid Avenue and enter the employee entrance gate just south of Café 54. Bins will be located at Fan Assistance inside the gate. Collection hours are Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
To inquire about volunteering for the sorting day, which runs from 1-5 p.m. on November 16 at Ed Smith Stadium, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 941-350-6075. Ed Smith Stadium is located at 2700 12th Street in Sarasota.
Food items also will be collected at area schools and local businesses. For a list of drop-off locations and information on how to provide a cash donation, please visit www.mayorsfeedthehungry.org.
The Orioles' participation with the Mayors' Feed the Hungry Program is part of Sarasota 365, a host of initiatives through which the Baltimore Orioles and OriolesREACH demonstrate the ballclub's year-round engagement with the Greater Sarasota community. Whether hosting youth activities, participating in charitable causes or partnering in efforts to boost the local economy, the Orioles are active in the region all year long, proving that their commitment to the club's southern home goes far beyond baseball.