When COVID-19 struck, we were all stunned, confused and scared. At that time, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation was focusing its energies on the programs that they have grown nationally – constructing Youth Development Parks to provide kids in underserved communities with safe places to play and learn. Building STEM Centers in elementary schools across the country to encourage our young people to expand their education and building bridges between law enforcement and communities through the Badges for Baseball program.
This worldwide pandemic forced the foundation to take a step back and focus on what the immediate need was in the communities they serve nationwide. With unemployment increasing dramatically and the illness keeping people apart, food insecurity was possibly the greatest need facing the country. So, Cal and the foundation team got together and decided it was a good time to temporarily shift its focus and raise money quickly to feed those in need.
“We have been working in underserved communities for nearly two decades and proud of the work we have done and continue to do. However, at this crucial time, we knew we needed to refocus our energy and do what we could to help,” said Hall of Famer and Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation co-founder, Cal Ripken, Jr.
“The results were tremendous and our partners and the public at-large really stepped up to make a difference. It also proved to us that, as needed, we can adjust on the fly and shift focus on the rare occasion when it is necessary.”
The “Strike Out Hunger” campaign was launched in partnership with Feeding America, the preeminent national hunger organization and experts in the field. Cal personally was involved as a spokesman for the campaign and the foundation kicked things off with an initial $100,000 donation. In addition, foundation partners Ollie’s Bargain Outlets, the Kevin Harvick Foundation and Niagara Cares contributed significantly as well to ensure that the campaign got out of the gates strongly.
The campaign received a great amount of attention through the media as Cal conducted 40 interviews to raise awareness and encourage the public to contribute to the cause.
— The Takeout w/ Major Garrett (@TakeoutPodcast) May 3, 2020
The interviews resulted in 225 million media impressions and national media hits with ESPN, ESPN Radio, Fox News, Fox Business, the MLB Network, SiriusXM Radio and the Tamron Hall Show.
In case you missed it, check out this clip https://t.co/Nfyc5GEEwn of Cal on @FoxBusiness’ The Closing Bell discussing our #StrikeOutHunger2020 campaign in partnership with @FeedingAmerica. Donate today by clicking https://t.co/OONTm7GsQW or by texting “Food2020” to 76278. — Cal Ripken Sr Fdn (@CalRipkenSrFdn) April 29, 2020
MLB legend @CalRipkenJr is helping fight hunger during this crisis with his campaign, Strike Out Hunger! He’s helping communities with his platform and spreading the word to get help for those most in need. pic.twitter.com/k2NAaupWY6 — Tamron Hall Show (@TamronHallShow) April 27, 2020
TODAY: The Iron Man @CalRipkenJr joins @VeniceMase & @LAIreland to help #StrikeOutHunger! Listen now on 710 AM ESPN https://t.co/Wda75IMccI pic.twitter.com/Lq90rse4C1 — ESPN Los Angeles (@ESPNLosAngeles) April 30, 2020
He also did interviews in six of the top ten markets in the country: New York (1), Los Angeles (2), Chicago (3), Dallas (5), Washington, DC (7) and Atlanta (10). The “Strike Out Hunger” campaign notched an important milestone when the Foundation’s efforts led to 3.4 million meals distributed by Feeding America!
The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation recently returned to its core mission of serving communities in need through the programs above but they understood that the need was great to make the adjustment needed to truly help those in need during a critical time in our country.
Check out more local and national media coverage on the campaign: