MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins' third annual Hope Week is under way in the Twin Cities, with players, front office staff, and FM 96.3 K-TWIN employees giving back to the community all week long.
Hope Week, which was started by the Twins in 2011, kicked off on Monday with two events. It lasts until Sunday, with 10 different events helping out several local charities, and many of the events coming as a surprise to the recipients.
"It's our third annual Hope Week, so it's continued to get bigger each year," said Bryan Donaldson, the Twins' senior director of community affairs. "We've gotten more comfortable with it and it's gained more notoriety, so we've got some requests for it with people wanting to be a part of it. I think the players and the front office want to be a part of it, which is a good thing."
As Donaldson pointed out, several Twins players are involved with the events, including Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Glen Perkins, Brian Duensing and Josh Willingham.
"We wanted the players to take ownership of it," Donaldson said. "We kind of picked our team captains so to speak, and asked them if they could captain a day and help pick an organization and help rally to do it. We've had some success with that, with Joe and Justin, and Carl Pavano before he left, and now Perkins, Willingham and Duensing. So I think it's worked well."
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is also set to visit the VA hospital in Minneapolis along with several former Twins players, which is a favorite visit for Gardenhire.
"Gardy, being the son of a military guy, he really wants to help out the veterans and say thank you," Donaldson said. "We'll see about 75 veterans and it means a lot to them for professional ballplayers to say thank you."
Hope Week began Monday with a scramble golf tournament at Chomonix Golf Course in Lino Lakes that benefits Spare Key, a Minnesota based non-profit that is focused on helping parents remain part of a seriously ill or critically injured child's Care Team in the hospital.
The front office staff also helped with Feed My Starving Children on Monday, preparing food for shipment to developing nations.
Tuesday featured participants in the Twins' Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities (RBI) Program being brought down to the field to watch the Twins take batting practice and meet players before they played the Phillies. The participants also stayed to watch the Twins and Phillies play, and the Twins won, 3-2.
Other organizations that will be aided by Hope Week include Cheerful Givers, the Gillette Children's Hospital, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities, CommonBond and Mary's Place.
"It's about reaching out and doing things for the organizations first of all, but we're also trying to provide some hope for the people involved," Donaldson said. "Even if it's just for one day, the rest of their life might not be going so well, but even for just that one day that they have some hope. I think that's what we're hoping to do."