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12/05/2012 3:03 PM ET

Cardinals support holiday gift drive for families of deployed military

Fans asked to join team effort the morning of December 12th by donating gifts at Busch Stadium


ST. LOUIS  – The St. Louis Cardinals front office is teaming up with Fredbird and volunteers from Cardinals Care, KMOV, Delaware North Sportservice and the American Red Cross to provide holiday gifts to the children of military families at Scott Air Force Base. 

The team is asking fans to support a gift drive at Busch Stadium on the morning of Wednesday December 12th.  Volunteers will collect donations for an upcoming Breakfast with Santa at Scott Air Force Base held for the families who have loved ones deployed overseas.   

“The Cardinals appreciate the selfless sacrifice military families make for us,” said Bill DeWitt III, President of the Cardinals.  “It is hard to be apart from family during the holidays, so we wanted to do our part to make their holiday season a little brighter.”

 Starting at 6 a.m. on December 12th, volunteers from each organization will collect new unwrapped toys for kids under 12 and gift cards for kids over 13.  Fans can drop off donations from 6 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Clark Street in front of the Busch Stadium administrative offices.  The first 250 people to donate items will receive a coupon for a free pizza from Papa John’s, as well as a complimentary cup of hot chocolate.  The children will receive the gifts during Breakfast with Santa (and Fredbird) at Scott Air Force Base hosted by the American Red Cross on December 15th.   Fans can learn more at cardinals.com/community or join the join the conversation with #Gifts4Kids. 

The Cardinals made caring for kids - - on and off the baseball field -- their focus when they established the Cardinals Care 16 years ago.   Cardinals Care has invested nearly $18 million in helping children, including providing nearly $11 million in grants to over 800 non-profit youth organizations, and building 19 youth ball fields in disadvantaged neighborhoods in Missouri and Illinois.  For nearly a decade, Cardinals Care has run the innovative Redbird Rookies program, a free baseball league for kids who otherwise might not have the opportunity to play. In addition to providing all the uniforms, gloves, bats, balls and other equipment needed for each team, Redbird Rookies also provides extensive off-field support in the areas of health, education, mentoring and the cultural arts for each of the nearly 4,500 kids who participate in the program each year.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.