The end of the baseball season has not curtailed the schedule of Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson.
Fresh off an appearance at Game 3 of the World Series in his native Chicago to receive baseball’s Roberto Clemente Award for, among other things, community involvement, Granderson and teammate Jose Reyes were at MS 72 in Jamaica Tuesday morning to distribute more than 100 free Thanksgiving turkeys to needy families in conjunction with the Child Center of NY.
Granderson and Reyes, joined by Mets brass, gave each recipient a sturdy Mets-blue cloth bag containing a frozen turkey, along with vouchers for tickets to a game at Citi Field Next season.
The players also gave out smiles, greeting fans of all ages, speaking with them and posing for dozens of pictures.
The event was part of the MetsGiving program, as well as the former all-star outfielder’s own Grand Giving charities.
“This is great,” Granderson said afterward. “Our community is not just the places that we grow up in, but where we get a chance to build our home away from home, places like Citi Field, Queens, Long Island. The community is people like this, looking forward to just enjoying things with the friends and family.”
Lenae Simpson, a nearby resident, said something as simple as a turkey will help her and the other recipients extend their Thanksgiving budgets.
“Turkeys are expensive,” she said. “This makes it easier for people to celebrate.”
The Roberto Clemente Award is named for the Hall of Fame Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder who was killed in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve in 1972.
He was flying from his native Puerto Rico to Nicaragua with supplies for earthquake victims after discovering an earlier shipment he had sent had been stolen by profiteers.
The award is given annually to the player who best exemplifies the game through sportsmanship, community involvement and contribution to his team.
Already active in philanthropic endeavors from early in his career that began in Detroit, Granderson said he always is trying to spread the reach of his foundation.
“It can be nice for people to know that people care about them, are trying to help them out,” he said.
Reyes, reacquired by the Mets after leaving as a free agent after the 2011 season, joined Granderson in handing out birds and greeting recipients.
“It’s great to be here,” he said.
The Child Care Center of NY, founded in 1953, works with more than 20,000 children at more than 50 schools and community organizations.
They focus in early childhood education, youth development, behavioral health and prevention and family support.
Deepmalya Ghosh, associate executive director for the organization, expressed their gratitude in a statement issued Monday.
“We are deeply grateful for the continuing support of our longtime partner, the New York Mets, and we are consistently humbled by their exceptional generosity,” he said.
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