Jim Thome toured the tornado-ravaged neighborhoods around his brother Randy’s home in Washington, Ill., last week, and decided to help. He talked the Twins into helping, too.
Thome, the former Twins slugger who grew up in Bartonville, Ill., about 10 miles from the central Illinois town where a series of tornados killed two people and destroyed dozens of homes on Nov. 17, has donated $100,000 to a fund to help victims of the twisters. He also contacted four of his former teams — the Twins, Indians, Phillies and White Sox, for whom he currently works in a front-office position — and asked if they would be willing to donate, too.
“We all said, ‘Yeah,’ right away when Jim called,” said Bryan Donaldson, Twins senior director of community relations. “We all agreed to donate $5,000 each, so that’s another $20,000 going to the Red Cross in central Illinois.”
It’s not the first time the Twins have donated when a player’s home is affected by a natural disaster. When an earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in 2011, the Twins donated $25,000 to relief efforts and collaborated with Tsuyoshi Nishioka on a fundraising effort that provided thousands more.
Another former Twins slugger is doing charity work this weekend, too. Justin Morneau will promote his Winter Warm-Up Coat Drive on Saturday by helping collect coats at Fan HQ in the Ridgedale Center.
Despite being traded to Pittsburgh on Aug. 31, Morneau went ahead with his fourth annual coat drive to benefit needy Twin Cities residents. Morneau will accept new or gently-used coats from donors from 10 a.m. to noon.