As part of an initiative to give back to the community, the Cleveland Indians hosted an early Thanksgiving event this past Sunday; something of a tradition for the team for the past two decades. The baseball team has consistently made an effort to connect with the people of the Cleveland community. The extent of their dedication is highlighted by this special occasion: a wholesome affair that brings people together to indulge in a feast. Matt Dolan, (owner of the Cleveland Indians) has stated that the event was arranged by his parents as a means to provide Thanksgiving meals for the underprivileged.
The Indians Organisation recruited the help of Delaware North Companies to arrange the event in Progressive Field. Guests were estimated to be around 375 people all from various charities of the area, namely: Our Lady of the Wayside, Shoes, and Clothes for Kids, Boys and Girls Club, Ohio Guidestone, and The City Mission. Also in attendance were 75 volunteers and Marines. The latter of who provided assistance in handing out gifts. Front office members of the organization were also present and served meals to the hundreds of people who came as part of the area charities.
A first for the event was the presence of toys. Children could go up to the table they were placed on and pick out something for themselves. This was courtesy of Toys for Tots. Also at the event was Santa Claus, to who the children could tell their Christmas wishes to. There was also a musical performance put together by the band from the Boys and Girls Clubs, enjoyed by all in attendance. The Cleveland Kids Book Bank also made its presence known by providing free gift bags with books in them. Their helpers remained on the move so all the children could pick one of their choosing.
Dolan (who owns the team), has said on record that the event is the first in a series of activities planned for the Thanksgiving holiday season. The plans include a food bank, a food drive, and even a toy drive. He’s also expressed that the Indian Organisation sees this as an opportunity to give back to the community that supports them. The organization’s Executive Director, Rebecca Kodysh echoes similar sentiments. She discussed the commitment of the Cleveland Indians to their community and that the Thanksgiving event is one way they try to give back.
Valencia Kimbrough, the manager of the community impact, is ambitious and has a vision for the event. She hopes that with each year, its reach expands. She went over the events of getting the Marines and Cleveland Book Bank involved and further goes on to urge other organizations to join hands with them so as to provide that much for the community. Her goals are on track as the event has only grown since its inception, with each year marking an increase in attendees and helpers. All in all, it’s a heart-warming event that exemplifies the importance of helping those in need, when you’re in a position to make a difference.