Donaldson hosts annual charity bowling event

Donaldson hosts annual charity bowling event

TORONTO -- For one night only, Josh Donaldson was OK with ground balls.

The Blue Jays third baseman hosted his third annual BaseBOWL charity bowling tournament on Monday in Toronto to benefit the Jays Care Foundation and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto.

"Helping out Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto and Jays Care again, we're very thankful for the fan support that we get," Donaldson said. "And it's just one way that we try to give back to the community."

The money raised in support of Jays Care on Monday is part of over $6.2 million that will be invested in 2017 to directly impact the lives of 65,000 young Canadians in all 10 provinces and the Yukon Territory.

"Player involvement helps us raise awareness for the work that we're doing," said Robert Witchel, executive director of Jays Care, "and, of course, the funds raised here help us reach more kids not just in Toronto but all across Canada."

Along with the night of bowling, fans in attendance had the opportunity to bid on auction items, including autographed jerseys, bats, and even a set of Russell Martin's catching gear.

Since being founded in 1992, Jays Care has worked to create lasting social change for children and youth through the game of baseball. Beyond the Rookie League, their signature baseball for development program, Jays Care leads a growing number of baseball programs that positively impact a wide variety of demographics and communities.

"Jays Care is working with the most marginalized kids across the country," Witchel said earlier this summer at the 22nd annual Jays Care Golf Classic. "Whether it's kids in the Challenger Baseball program or kids in Toronto Community Housing, what we're trying to do is level the playing field for all kids. Giving every kid the opportunity to reach their full potential and have a successful life."

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto helps local youth with programs that are preventative and operate from a strengths-based perspective. Through long-term programs, children and youth are mentored to give back to their communities, stay in school, and to have respect for their family and peers.

Donaldson had plenty of company at the event on Monday, too. Nearly all of his Blue Jays teammates were in attendance, with a number of coaches and team staff on hand, as well.

"They've showed up and they've been very supportive of the event," Donaldson said. "It's kind of one of those things where I feel our team does a great job with, when there's a chance to give back to the community, they do that."

Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.