Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco pledges $25 per hit in 2017 to Strike Out Poverty in the Dominican Republic – challenges fans to join him.

There’s a lot riding on Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco’s bat this season.

There’s no denying that the Pirates need Polanco’s offensive powers if they have a hope of clawing their way above .500 and out of last place in the central division. But for nine communities in the Dominican Republic, each hit equals $25 to help provide clean water, food and the basic necessities of life.

The money goes to the Striking Out Poverty campaign, an initiative of charity Food for the Hungry, that aims to end poverty in nine of the most in-need communities in the DR. The idea to organize the campaign around baseball was the brainchild of Milam Byers, manager of Sports Partnerships for Food for the Hungry. Baseball is an enormous part of the culture in the country of over 10 million, and has produced legions of talented stars for MLB. Byers wondered if there was a way to help use the sport as a way to raise awareness and money for the island nation’s most in-need communities.

Polanco became an ambassador for the program after visiting several communities with a team from Food for the Hungry over the off-season. A native of the Dominican Republic, he grew up among some of the communities targeted for assistance through the program.

“I’ve been with Striking Out Poverty in the Dominican and I’ve experienced the difference they are making there,” he said in a press release. “I know that this can help make a difference in the lives of many.”

$25 for 25

Polanco has 38 hits for the season, 18 in May and June so far – largely due to a spate of lower-body injuries including a hamstring pull and ankle sprain. He chose the amount of $25 to honor his jersey number, 25. He encourages fans to join his efforts and pledge money per hit through (hopefully) October or by making a one-time contribution. His goal is to raise $10,000. Join his efforts by visiting his Pledge-It page, which also includes more information on his commitment to the cause.

Altruism has its privileges. Fans who pledge to help Polanco Strike Out Poverty have the opportunity to earn some nifty VIP Rewards, including:

  • For a $.25 per hit pledge or a straight donation of $25 – a signed Gregory Polanco photo card
  • For a $2.50 per hit pledge or a straight donation of $250 – 2 tickets to a Pirates home game and entry into a drawing for a VIP experience (2 available) including:
    • 4 tickets to a Pirates game
    • On-field passes for batting practice for 4
    • Meet & greet with Gregory Polanco
    • Signed game-worn jersey OR signed game-used bat

Of the villages he’s committing to help, he said, they don’t have enough food or safe places for the children to play. “What they do have is love; love of life; love of each other; and definitely, love of baseball!” he said on his page.

For More Information

Read this story for background on Polanco’s involvement with Striking Out Poverty and information on the campaign and poverty in the Dominican Republic.

Read this story for information on a special line of shirts offered through Athletes Brand to benefit Striking Out Poverty.

For more information on Striking Out Poverty, visit www.strikingoutpoverty.com

 

Cover photo courtesy David D. White/Food for the Hungry

 

 

Joy Frank-Collins

Joy Frank-Collins is a Communications professional who got her start writing as a journalist at a daily newspaper in southeastern Ohio. She was born in Reds country, but "found" baseball watching the 1986 Mets win the World Series. She lives in Marietta, Ohio, with her family, who all share her passion for Pirates baseball. She loves the suicide squeeze, a crisp 6-4-3 double play and catchers (especially Russell Martin). When not obsessing over baseball, Joy likes to work out, travel and drink wine. Check her out on Instagram @JoyFC