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Press Release

12/13/2006 3:00 PM ET
Major League Baseball players and Volunteers of America step up to the plate for hurricane survivors in Mississippi and Alabama

GULFPORT, Miss. -- Volunteers of America and the Major League Baseball Players Trust joined forces today to provide disaster relief to hurricane survivors in Mississippi and Alabama in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. LaTroy Hawkins of the Colorado Rockies, Jacque Jones of the Chicago Cubs and Matt Lawton, a free agent, presented Volunteers of America with an $80,000 check from the Players Trust to support its free medical clinic for hurricane survivors in Mississippi and Alabama. The presentation was held at a clinic site in Gulfport, Mississippi, where the Major League baseball players also greeted and registered patients at the clinic with the hope of inspiring others to help hurricane survivors by volunteering or donating supplies. Yesterday, Hawkins, Jones, David Dellucci of the Cleveland Indians and Chad Gaudin of the Oakland A's presented an $80,000 check from the Players Trust to Volunteers of America in support of the Lighthouse after-school program for at risk children in New Orleans. This is the second year that Major League baseball players have donated their time and resources to help Volunteers of America with its long-term goal of rebuilding the hurricane ravaged communities in the Gulf Coast.

"In the past year, Volunteers of America has done a tremendous job addressing the needs of the neediest residents affected by the devastating hurricanes," said Hawkins. "With so much work still to be done, all Major League baseball players are grateful for this opportunity to support Volunteers of America's efforts to make sure that all area residents continue to have access to quality health care. Also, we encourage others to find a way to make sure that our neighbors in need are not forgotten."

Managed by Volunteers of America's Southeast affiliate, the free medical clinic was created one week after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast to provide emergency medical assistance to survivors in Mississippi and Alabama. To date, the clinic has served over 20,000 people who are still fighting for survival in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

"We are grateful for the support of the Major League Baseball Players Trust, which has enabled Volunteers of America to continue to expand our ongoing assistance to thousands of people along the Gulf Coast who are still in the process of rebuilding their lives after Katrina," said Wallace Davis, president and chief executive officer of Volunteers of America Southeast. "Our hope is that the generosity of these players will inspire others to join us in the work of providing a hand up to those in great need."

The Major League Baseball Players Trust partnered with Volunteers of America in 2002 to promote the nurturing and well-being of America's children and their families. The partnership features the personal involvement of Major League baseball players and their families with a variety of programs conducted by Volunteers of America throughout the United States. Also, together they administer the Action Team, a national youth volunteer initiative currently inspiring the next generation of volunteers in Boston, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis, New York City, Oakland, Philadelphia, Portland (ME), San Francisco and Seattle. For more information about the Major League Baseball Players Trust, visit www.MLBPLAYERS.com.

Volunteers of America is a national, nonprofit, faith-based organization dedicated to helping those in need rebuild their lives and reach their full potential. Through thousands of human service programs, including housing and healthcare, Volunteers of America helps nearly 2 million people in over 400 communities. Since 1896, our ministry of service has supported and empowered America's most vulnerable groups, including at-risk youth, the frail elderly, men and women returning from prison, homeless individuals and families, people with disabilities, and those recovering from addictions. Our work touches the mind, body, heart-and ultimately the spirit-of those we serve, integrating our deep compassion with highly effective programs and services. For more information about Volunteers of America, visit www.VolunteersofAmerica.org.