PHILADELPHIA -- When the school year ends this month, nearly 200,000 students in the Philadelphia region who received breakfast and lunch through subsidized programs at school must look elsewhere. This summer is particularly difficult, with the economy in limbo and food prices on the rise. "It's a perfect storm of tragedy out there right now," said Bill Clark, president and executive director of Philabundance, Philadelphia's largest hunger-relief organization.
Citizens Bank is aiming to alleviate that problem by partnering with Philabundance and the Phillies. Daniel Fitzpatrick, bank president and CEO for Eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, presented a $25,000 grant to Philabundance at a press conference on Wednesday morning. That money, Clark said, will equate to 83,000 meals for children in need. But Citizens Bank is not stopping there. Citizens Bank will also hold raffles for fans at the Phillies' Citizens Bank Businessperson's Special Games on June 18, July 10 and Aug. 7, donating the money to Philabundance. "We know the need is great," Fitzpatrick said at Wednesday morning's press conference. Seven prizes will be at stake in the raffle, including the chance to watch batting practice from the field, an official base used during a Phillies game, a bat autographed by Ryan Howard, the chance to serve as an honorary groundskeeper during a game, an official Phillies lineup card, nine baseballs autographed by the Phillies' 2008 Opening Day starting lineup and an assortment of memorabilia from the Phillies' first game at Citizens Bank Park in 2004. "They're not just signing checks," Clark said of Citizens Bank. "[They are] volunteering, having food drives, packing food -- helping out in a lot of different ways."
Kevin Horan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.