On Tuesday, Jan. 12, a devastating earthquake hit the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Soon, the eyes of the world were fixed on a people already struggling to survive as they begin to face seemingly endless challenges.
Here in the U.S., Mike Melillo, a baseball player from Elon University in North Carolina, couldn’t just sit back and watch the events unfold. Practice and classes kept Melillo from being able to physically travel to Haiti, but an idea began to take shape. Melillo decided to contact colleges, asking NCAA baseball players to donate at least a dollar to the Red Cross for earthquake relief in a project called “Pinch Hit for Haiti.”
Junior Drew Nonnemacher had the same feelings as Melillo, searching for a way to do his part, when Northwestern baseball coach Brian Wede suggested the “Pinch Hit” idea. Nonnemacher wrote an email about the project to all of the GPAC baseball coaches as well as the other Red Raider sports teams. He still felt that more could be done, so he contacted the commissioner of another NAIA conference, who in turn forwarded the information to all of the NAIA conferences in the nation.
The Elon athletic website is keeping track of the donations with a map showing the contributions from each school. Currently, athletes have donated $16,982 for Haiti through this project.
“I really wanted to help in a way, and I knew we could not go down to help physically, so I was super excited when I heard about this Pinch Hit for Haiti,” Nonnemacher said. “It is really cool to look on his donation map and see that Northwestern College made an impact.”
What can you do?
College sports fans are encouraged to donate as well. To join the project, visit www.redcross.org and donate any amount using a credit or debit card. A page with a tracking number, your name, and amount donated with appear. Copy the information into an email, add Northwestern College, Iowa, to indicate the school you wish to represent and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Fans are also encouraged to spread the word to as many student-athletes and fans as possible.