PITTSBURGH -- Southeast Texas and its outerlying areas are just now beginning to recover from the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, and considering how many homes, businesses and lives were lost, the process is going to be a long one.
Major League Baseball will do its part to aid in the relief efforts by donating $500,000 to the Gulf Coast Ike Relief Fund to benefit the victims of Hurricane Ike, Commissioner Bud Selig announced today. Major League Baseball also will conduct a variety of activities asking fans to support the relief effort.
"Major League Baseball, as a social institution with important social responsibilities, has a unique platform to help those who suffered from and were displaced by Hurricane Ike," said Commissioner Selig. "In addition to contributing funds to the relief effort, we will, beginning today, call on the support of its millions of fans who will enter ballparks, watch games on television and enjoy baseball online."
Major League Baseball will air a public service announcement starting Sunday in ballparks and on nationally and locally televised games encouraging fans to provide support. MLB.com and each of the 30 club Web sites will provide fans with a link to make contributions.
Proceeds will be channeled through the Gulf Coast Ike Relief Fund, the official fund established for Ike, to help fulfill unmet human needs for victims of Hurricane Ike in Houston and Harris and Galveston Counties as well as other affected areas. The fund was established by Houston Mayor Bill White. It was created in conjunction with the Greater Houston Community Foundation (GHCF).
Many of the Major League Baseball clubs are contributing to the cause with local efforts including fund-raising activities and food and clothing drives to benefit the victims.
"Houston has taken a huge hit from Hurricane Ike, but just knowing that Major League Baseball is willing to step to the plate on behalf of the thousands of storm victims here is a big relief in itself," said Mayor White.
Hurricane Ike, labeled as a Category 2 but only one mph short of qualifying for a Category 3, slammed into Galveston and made its way up to Houston, home to nearly four million residents. It also ravaged, and in some cases, completely wiped away, countless small cities along the Gulf Coast.
The Astros, who were uprooted from their home ballpark and were forced to play two games with the Cubs more than 1,200 miles away in Milwaukee, recently made a donation of $1 million to the Gulf Coast Ike Relief Fund.
They also announced several fundraising activities that will take place at Minute Maid Park during the club's last homestand of the regular season. From Tuesday through Sunday, the Astros will hold a food and supplies drive, a silent auction for various pieces of memorabilia and a cash collections drive. A jersey auction will be held on Tuesday and, on Saturday, the Astros will host a blood drive and the Autographed Ball Mystery Drive, through which fans select a "Grab Bag" that contains an Astros autographed baseball for $50.
The Astros will also accept donations on behalf of the Houston Humane Society. The non-profit organization is in need of dog food, cat food, towels and water.
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.