Second Harvest had 14 extra sets of hands Wednesday as the Tri-City Americans put in 2 1/2 hours sorting and boxing onions, potatoes and cabbage at the organization’s warehouse in Pasco.
The players, volunteering at the warehouse for the second consecutive year, put in a productive morning, helping fellow volunteers with 25,668 pounds of fresh produce. The amount of food sorted and boxed is a near record. The Second Harvest staff said the last time time they were that productive, they had 40 people working.
“It’s great to have a group of strong, young men who are excited about the work we are doing and giving back to the community,” said Jean Tucker, development director for Second Harvest. “Last year, we distributed 6.2 million pounds of food. That’s about a half a million pounds of food a month that comes out of here.”
The work at Second Harvest is just a small part of the more than 2,500 man-hours of volunteer work put in by the Tri-City players each season. They also do reading programs at local elementary schools, visit patients in the hospital and work with Habitat for Humanity, one of their favorite causes.
“They do it, they don’t complain and I think they look forward to it,” Americans general manager Bob Tory said of the players and their community service efforts. “We have been so blessed. I can’t thank the players enough for their effort and genuine caring for the cause. It means more than wins or losses. You receive more back in return than what you are giving.”
The players sorted and boxed 8,000 pounds of potatoes before moving on to the cabbage — some weighing more than 10 pounds.
When the produce is shipped to the distribution centers, it will help create 21,390 meals for people in the Tri-Cities.
“It’s a humbling experience to come here,” Americans defenseman and team captain Justin Hamonic said. “We are blessed to have what we have. It’s humbling to see what people have to go through to get a meal. It’s a lot of work, but you know it will make someone’s day to get a good meal.”
For Tri-City goalie Eric Comrie, Second Harvest has a special place in his heart. He donates 50 cents from every home save to the organization. In three home games this season, he has had 73 saves, amounting to a donation of $36.50.
“We are fortunate to play in a market that gives back to the community,” Comrie said. “We are lucky to go home to a hot meal and have leftovers. Some people don’t have that. Life is about giving back. Bob (Tory) instills that in us — giving back to those who need help.”
Americans forward Jackson Playfair, who was acquired from Spokane in January, said the Chiefs did not do anything of this magnitude.
“I think we all would have liked to stay in bed a little longer, but after being here, you see how much this benefits the community,” Playfair said. “We all had such good childhoods growing up, and this means a lot to me and the rest of the guys. People enjoy coming to see us and watch us play. When we get out in the community and they see our faces, we are more than just a number on the ice.”
Tri-City HeraldOctober 29, 2014
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