Helping Hens strive to give back to communityWritten by Danielle Stanton | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The charitable arm of the Mud Hens — the Helping Hens — organize the distribution of Mud Hens tickets to underprivileged kids, arrange player visits, auction jerseys for charity and donate Mud Hens memorabilia and tickets to local charities.
“Helping Hens is the official charitable fund of the Toledo Mud Hens and is administered through the Toledo Community Foundation,” Mud Hens Communications Director Andi Roman said by email. “It was established to provide financial support to local nonprofit organizations with an emphasis on education and development of local youth.”
Last year, the Helping Hens Foundation donated $50,000 to local nonprofits. The fund contributes in-kind and monetary donations to nearly 1,000 organizations every year. The in-kind donations include jerseys, tickets, appearances and merchandise, which alone raised thousands of dollars for charity, Roman said.
This year’s season of giving kicked off Jan. 23 with the Helping Hens’ “Tiger Talk,” an evening with Detroit Tigers’ new manager Brad Ausmus and right fielder Torii Hunter. The night raised more than $3,000, Roman said.
Helping Hens partners with local organizations to help underprivileged kids. This year will be its ninth year partnering with local drug enforcement agencies for its Substance Abuse Prevention Program, which teaches “positive choices” to underprivileged youth, she said.
Underprivileged kids who can’t afford tickets can be a part of Muddy’s Knothole Club, which partners with area businesses.
For schools and local nonprofits that want their students or clients to attend a game but who may not have transportation, the Helping Hens Foundation offers a transportation grant.
This year will also see its share of jersey auctions. A Ghostbuster jersey, two Christmas in July jerseys and a pink jersey for Susan G. Komen for the Cure are some of the jerseys to be auctioned for charity this season.
Rob Wiercinski, a Toledo native and former reporter with WTOL News 11, is the new community relations manager for the Mud Hens and will join Roman working with the Helping Hens Foundation. Wiercinski and Roman also worked together at 1370 WSPD and WTOL.
Wiercinski had developed a relationship with the Mud Hens organization as a reporter covering the Walleye for WTOL. When the communications position opened up, the Mud Hens asked if he was interested, Wiercinski said. He worked for WTOL for eight years and started with the Mud Hens three weeks ago.
“I went to many Hens games at the Lucas County Rec Center and saw a lot of hockey at the old sports center,” Wiercinski said, adding that he covered the groundbreaking of Fifth Third Field as a radio reporter.
“I’m joining the organization that helped make Toledo the No. 1 minor league sports market in America,” Wiercinski said, referring to the title of Top Minor League Market Toledo earned last year in a ranking of 235 minor league sports cities by Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal. “I’m joining an outstanding organization and I want to be a part of the team.”
Tags: a Toledo native and former reporter with WTOL News 11, Detroit, Detroit Tigers, Detroit Tigers’ new manager Brad Ausmus and right fielder Torii Hunter, Fifth Third Field, Ghostbuster jersey, Lucas County Rec Center, Mud Hens Communications Director Andi Roman, Muddy’s Knothole Club, Rob Wiercinski, Substance Abuse Prevention Program, the Helping Hens Foundation, Toledo Mud Hens, Top Minor League Market Toledo, two Christmas in July jerseys and a pink jersey for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, “Tiger Talk”