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Grosse Pointe Farms-City Little League contributes to COVID-19 hospital workers

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published May 12, 2020

Graphic provided by Grosse Pointe Farms-City Little League

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GROSSE POINTES — Although COVID-19 has rendered the fate of their own season unknown, some young local baseball players have set aside their personal disappointment in order to make a positive difference for the hospital workers on the front lines of the battle against the dangerous virus.

This spring, the Grosse Pointe Farms-City Little League demonstrated its gratitude to the medical professionals fighting the novel coronavirus by donating $10,000 to two local funds at Ascension St. John Hospital in Detroit/Grosse Pointe Woods. The funds, approved unanimously by the GPFCLL Board, included $20 per registration for the spring 2020 season — a total of $6,400 — supplemented by additional donations. 

“For me and everyone in that boardroom, it was a pretty easy decision,” said GPFCLL President Jay Ricci, of Grosse Pointe Farms.  “Those people, on a daily basis, are helping us and everyone else in southeast Michigan. … They’re working to save lives.”

The gift was given in April to the hospital’s COVID-19 Fund — which helps with expenses other than personal protective equipment, such as washable laundry bags and portable showers — and the Associate Hardship Fund, which assists hospital staffers facing personal financial challenges because of the virus, such as medical or funeral costs for a hospital worker, spouse or immediate family member; groceries; and the prevention of utility shut-off, eviction or foreclosure.

“We are extremely grateful to the Grosse Pointe Farms-City Little League (GPFCLL) for their generous monetary donation,” said Dr. Kevin Grady, president/CEO of Ascension St. John Hospital, via email. “The community response to COVID-19 has been heartwarming. Difficult days were made significantly better because of the local support of the hospital and our associates/caregivers. The compassion and support demonstrated by GPFCLL and all of its members is amazing. Lives are going to be saved by these donations, if not physically, without doubt emotionally. We are living in an amazing community!”

Ricci said the GPFCLL has “had a partnership with Ascension St. John for several years now,” so the decision to give back to them was an easy one.

The donation comes at a time when the Little League players normally would be competing on the field. The first week of games would have usually happened between April 20 and 27, but the governor’s stay-at-home order and calls for social distancing have put that on hold for the moment, Ricci said. At press time, he said they’re now hoping to start playing June 13, although it’s not known if family and friends of the players will be able to root them on from the stands.

“There’s clearly no sure thing on this, but we’ll try to do social distancing so the kids can have some fun,” Ricci said.

If crowds aren’t allowed, Ricci said, they’ll try to find an online solution to at least enable loved ones to watch their favorite young players remotely, such as possibly streaming games live via Facebook.

“Whatever we have to do to make it safe for these kids, we’re going to do it,” Ricci said.

GPFCLL said the public can also contribute to the Ascension St. John COVID-19 funds by logging on to stjohnprovfoundations.org.

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