MINNEAPOLIS -- With the holiday season underway, the Twins are gearing up their charity efforts in the Twin Cities.
The organization's community efforts culminate with their annual Holiday Week of Giving the week of Dec. 16 with five days of different charity events to benefit local organizations. During the week, the Twins are set to host events benefiting charities such as The Salvation Army, Rebuilding Together, Ronald McDonald House and Open Arms.
"It's been a great success," said Twins director of community relations Bryan Donaldson. "It allows our employees here in the offseason to get out and volunteer in the community and be seen. We have our players get out in the community a ton during the season, but in the offseason it's our employees' time to shine and give back."
So while most Twins players don't reside in Minnesota in the offseason and aren't available for local events, they still give back throughout the year, especially during the season.
One of the club's biggest initiatives is Hope Week, which began in 2011 and is similar to the Holiday Week of Giving with different charity events each day.
Several players such as Glen Perkins, Joe Mauer, Brian Duensing and Josh Willingham have participated in Hope Week, while former Twins first baseman Justin Morneau was also an active participant. Morneau is also still hosting his annual winter coat drive this year even though he's no longer with the organization.
The Twins also donated items to more than 5,000 fundraising events and gave out more than 20,000 tickets through the TwinsCare program.
Additionally, the Twins help with local baseball and softball efforts, including the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program, through the help of the Twins Community Fund, which is a nonprofit organization that works to enrich local and regional communities by providing resources for the healthy development of children and families through an association with baseball, softball and the Twins.
"Giving back to the community is one of the core parts of our overall brand," Donaldson said. "We want the public to see the Twins as family friendly, affordable, hard-working, and as an organization that gives back to the community. We want to be seen as a good neighbor."
Once the holidays are over, the Twins host two major events in January, as they have the annual Winter Caravan throughout the Upper Midwest and TwinsFest, which is set to be held at Target Field for the first time.
The Winter Caravan generally has stops in states such as North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa, and features current players, executives and coaches.
"It's one of the largest offseason tours in baseball," Donaldson said. "We'll probably hit more than 65 cities again this year. We're really proud of it and happy to talk to folks about Twins baseball."
In 2014, the Twins have even more on their plate, as they're set to host the All-Star Game at Target Field. In recent years, the Midsummer Classic has annually brought roughly $5 million to local charities and many charity events will be scheduled around the Twin Cities.
"We're working very hard on the All-Star Game," Donaldson said. "There are a lot of community events. I know in other markets there were some dollars given that the Commissioner [Bud Selig] talked about. We're working on that and I think once that's released, it'll be one of the largest community projects ever associated with an All-Star Game."