PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies, with the help of veteran outfielder Juan Pierre and Citizens Bank, launched the Helping Hands Glove Donation Program at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday.
For the remainder of the Phillies' season, baseball fans are asked to drop off new or gently used baseball gloves at the Citizens Bank kiosk in Ashburn Alley at the ballpark (behind the seats in right-center field) to aid children involved with the Phillies Jr. RBI League, which started in 1989 and helps more than 7,000 local children between the ages of six and 12.
The league encourages inner-city kids to play baseball and softball and, in the process, "learn the basics of teamwork and sportsmanship."
Citizens Bank has participated since 2002, purchasing and collecting more than 4,000 gloves for the league.
"It's a great program to get inner-city kids involved," Pierre said. "I've always been a part of it ever since I've been in the big leagues, sponsoring kids, just to get them back to playing baseball. You've got coaches like this that volunteer their time to be father figures in some of these kids' lives and do that type of thing, which is important. I can't say enough about it."
Wednesday's event featured Pierre, six children and two coaches from the Oaklane Phillies Jr. RBI League, Phillies play-by-play broadcaster Tom McCarthy, Citizens Bank senior vice president and director of public affairs Henri Moore and the Phillie Phanatic, who arrived fashionably late on his red Phillies four-wheeler.
"We couldn't do half the things that we do here in Philadelphia at Citizens Bank Park without the great folks of Citizens Bank," McCarthy said.
"We are so glad to be a part of this celebration," Moore said. "We are all so happy to be here to reward these kids these gloves, and hopefully they're going to grow up one day to be Juan Pierre. That's what we're hoping for."
The glove donations began at the launch and continued through Wednesday's Phillies-Nationals game. Pierre, for one, was happy to be a part of it.
"Any time I can be on board to help," Pierre said. "I'm always around to help. It's a great thing that they're doing here. And Philly also -- I've heard they've been helping for years and years and still helping, so that's great for the city of Philadelphia."
Jake Kaplan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.