Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 6/9/12
MINNEAPOLIS The Minnesota Twins organization believes in giving back to the community, which is why the team will take part in its second annual Hope Week, beginning Sunday. Each day for the following week, Twins players, coaches and front office staff will be out in the Twin Cities community, volunteering their time to make a difference, whether it be through raising funds or simply spending a few hours with those less fortunate. The events begin Sunday with Justin Morneau's fourth annual Casino Night, which raises funds for Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. "Casino Night was something we kind of built Hope Week around because it had been going on for a while," said Bryan Donaldson, the Twins' director of community affairs. "It's been very successful. Every year, it has grown."The rest of the week will be followed with various activities some of which will be a surprise for the participants. Pitchers Carl Pavano and Nick Blackburn, along with the Twins Wives Organization, will be leading the "Hang With the Majors" event Monday at Toby Keith's Bar and Grill in St. Louis Park, with players serving as guest bartenders. The proceeds go to the Minnesota Military Families Foundation and the Wounded Warrior Project.Since joining the Twins in 2009, Pavano has been instrumental in giving back to the community, Donaldson said."I think he understands what it means to be a major league baseball player and why it's important to give back to the community," Donaldson said. "I think he has a passion for it, too. He really wants to do his part, not only in our community but in his home community and other places. He and his wife, Alissa, have really stepped up. They are our leaders in the community."On Tuesday, manager Ron Gardenhire, Twins alumni and current coaches and players will visit with veterans at the VA Hospital in Minneapolis. They'll sign autographs and take photos with the veterans."Gardy likes that a lot," Donaldson said of Gardenhire, who was raised in a military family.The week will culminate Friday during a "Field Day for the Kids" event, where the players will get to interact with children at Target Field before Friday's game. According to Donaldson, the Field Day event had 100 percent player participation last year. Throughout the week, each of the players will all do their part at the various events.Donaldson said the New York Yankees, who have held a similar week of events for the past four years, inspired the idea for the Twins' version of Hope Week. Now, the goal is for more teams to follow suit."We want to expand it throughout Major League Baseball where every team takes a week and gives back," Donaldson said. "It's kind of working that way. We feel that if we focus a whole week on giving back to the community, volunteering in the community and raising funds that it puts a big spotlight on it for that week and also will spur our fans to go out and volunteer in their own community."Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter.
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