Tigers donate leftover food from clubhouse to charity
By Jason Beck / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- What began as an ad in a magazine has become an award-winning cause for Mike and Brooke Maroth.
Two years ago, the Maroths were just getting used to life in the big leagues after Mike was called up in June. While paging through Hour Detroit, Brooke noticed an ad for an organization called "Rock and Wrap It Up," which finds ways to take food from catered events and deliver it to soup kitchens in the area.
"He'd always come home with leftover food," Brooke said. "When we first got into the big leagues, it was such a different environment."
Mike Maroth / P
Weight: 190 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: L
The organization got its start 10 years ago by serving rock concerts, conventions and other events in the entertainment industry, feeding more than 20 million people with 4,000 volunteers in 500 cities, but was always looking to expand. A baseball clubhouse seemed so logical to Brooke and Mike, they talked with clubhouse manager Jim Schmakel, visited the organization's Web site called the number and got in touch with local director Greg Fletcher.
On Tuesday, Rock and Wrap It Up called them out for their work. Mike received the charity's annual Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Award during a luncheon at Mickey Mantle's Restaurant in Manhattan. He joins former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman, syndicated columnist Liz Smith and international fraternity Pi Lambda Phi as award-winners. Founder and director Syd Mandelbaum was part of the ceremonies.
It's the second award this year for Maroth, who received the Dick Berardino Alumni Award from the Lowell Spinners over the offseason as the former Spinner who "best represents the qualities of productivity, work ethic and coachability."
For Maroth, though, Tuesday's award felt like a group honor. Beyond Brooke's help, he credited Schmakel with helping put together the food and set up the deliveries to Neighborhood Services, a 24-hour shelter in downtown Detroit.
"We were just the ones to get the ball rolling," Maroth said.
The service started last season. The way it works now, Maroth said, is a seamless operation. Not only do the Tigers donate leftover food from the clubhouse on game days, but Schmakel helps arrange stored sandwich meats, breads, and other perishable items to be donated at the end of each homestand so that they won't go to waste while the Tigers are on the road. The team also donated food during this past Spring Training to Lighthouse Ministries in Lakeland, Fla.
The value of the program is twofold. Not only does it provide food to those who really need it instead of throwing it away, but by donating food directly, it allows charities to best use the money they have.
Plus, the organization has found a role model from the athletic arena. "In sports, it's huge for us," Mandelbaum said.
Now, the effort is on to encourage other teams to help. The Texas Rangers have done something similar on their own for the past several years. Brooke and others have been in touch with other teams, and have found some level of interest.
For now, though, the Maroths are glad that Detroit is being helped.
"It takes a couple extra steps," Maroth said, "but it does a lot of a lot of different people."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.