Seventh annual week of giving back to communities in Southwest Florida

FORT MYERS, Fla. (Feb. 22, 2017) – For the seventh consecutive year, the Boston Red Sox completed a series of events and activities from Feb. 18 to 21 that gave back to communities throughout Southwest Florida.

Highlights of the week included guests and fans attending a free-admission Spring Training Open House at JetBlue Park at Fenway South, uniformed personnel and front office staff volunteering at two local nonprofits and two longtime fundraising events that help children in need throughout Southwest Florida.

“For many years, we have supported various fundraisers in Southwest Florida, and six years ago, we began adding additional activities to highlight the good work of organizations in Lee County that, every day, are serving people here who are most in need,” said Katie Haas vice president of Florida business operations for the Red Sox.

The week of service began Saturday, Feb. 18 with the annual Spring Training Open House at JetBlue Park, a free event inviting the public to enjoy inflatables on the field, player autographs, discounted concessions, face-painting and magicians, meet and greet/photo opportunities with Wally the Green Monsters and his little sister Tessie, self-guided tours of the park and more. This year’s Open House also featured the new Red Sox Showcase powered by T-Mobile, a 14-foot box truck that transforms into a full-blown Fenway experience including a pitching accuracy challenge, Green Monster photo backdrop, authentic player jerseys, bats and helmets, and more.

Deven Marrero #17 of the Boston Red Sox greets a participant during a visit to the Family Initiative as part of the Week of Service on February 20, 2017 at Fenway South in Fort Myers, Florida . (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) 

On Feb. 20, members of the Red Sox uniformed personnel, including Deven Marrero and Drew Pomeranz, and front-office staff volunteered at Community Cooperative assisting with food preparation for the organization’s Meals on Wheels program and Soup Kitchen, stocked shelves in the food pantry and unloaded its mobile food pantry. They also visited The Family Initiative, Inc. and interacted with the organization’s young members who are on the autism spectrum. Types of activities included whiffle ball, corn hole, relay races, soccer, playground fun and indoor video games.

Also on Feb. 20, Chris Sale and other players signed autographs at the 12th Annual Evening with the Red Sox at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, a fundraising event benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lee County. The event also included an extended cocktail reception, games, live music, silent and live auctions, and guest speaker former Red Sox left fielder Jim Rice.

The week of service wrapped up on Feb. 21 with the 23rd Annual Boston Red Sox Children’s Hospital Celebrity Golf Classic at the Forrest Country Club in Fort Myers, benefiting Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.

Pitcher Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox signs autographs during the Boys & Girls Club Dinner on February 20, 2017 at Fenway South in Fort Myers, Florida . (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

The Red Sox play its first exhibition game on Thursday, Feb. 23 at 1:05 p.m. against the Northeastern University Huskies. The team will play a total of 19 home games, including 17 Grapefruit League games and a World Baseball Classic exhibition game against Team USA on March 9. Red Sox Spring Training is presented by CVS Health.