April 02, 2020
The Philadelphia Phillies were scheduled to have their home opener for the 2020 season at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday against the Milwaukee Brewers. However, due to the coronavirus outbreak across the country, Major League Baseball (MLB) has shut down play until further notice. Therefore, that means no home runs from Phillies' outfielder Bryce Harper for the foreseeable future.
But Phillies fans and all Philadelphians heard from the 27-year-old Harper and his wife Kayla on Thursday, as the couple announced that they are donating $500,000 to COVID-19 relief efforts in both cities that the family calls home: Philadelphia and Las Vegas.
“Las Vegas will always be my family’s first home,” Harper said. “Philadelphia, our home away from home, welcomed us with open arms from day one. These communities mean so much to us, and Kayla and I want to do our part to help battle the effects of the virus in Vegas and Philly.”
The Harpers are teaming up to help out Philadelphians through the nonprofit Philabundance, and they are not the first local celebrities to help out via the hunger relief organization.
Philadelphia 76ers’ All-Star Ben Simmons is helping out the nonprofit through his Philly Pledge campaign that is geared towards assisting coronavirus relief efforts across the city. Philadelphia Eagles’ tight end Zach Ertz and his wife, U.S. women’s soccer star Julie Ertz, are donating $100,000 to the nonprofit through their family foundation. Eagles’ center Jason Kelce and his wife Kylie are also contributing $100,000 to the organization.
A fundraiser started by "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" stars Rob McElhenney and Kaitlin Olson provided more than $100,000, while Sixers’ owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer—in conjunction with the 76ers’ Youth Foundation—made a six-figure donation to the nonprofit that will provide 20,000 boxes of food to feed 160,000 Philly residents.
“NOW is the time to come together and adhere to the guidelines of medical professionals!,” Harper said. “We are wishing the best to all with our prayers during this time.”
Philabundance is currently working with the city to provide free food to residents during the pandemic.
Free food is being distributed at 40 community sites across the city, as about 4,000 boxes of food were handed out on Monday during the first day of the initiative. Food is available for pickup by any city resident on Mondays and Thursdays from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Residents are permitted to pick up one box of food per household and do not need to provide an ID or proof of income to receive food. The supplies provided per box can last up to five days, city officials said.
With 1,852 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 13 deaths, Philadelphia has the most coronavirus cases and deaths due to the virus of any city or county in Pennsylvania. The commonwealth has 7,016 positive cases, the eighth-most of any state across the country, and 90 deaths as of Thursday afternoon.