Off-season brings a time of rest and rebuilding for professional baseball players, but West Virginia Black Bears’ front office staff show no signs of slowing down. On-field activities may have wrapped-up for the season, but community service efforts are kicking into high gear in Morgantown, WV.

“The off season is when our front office staff really have a chance to get out into the community and give our time to causes close to our hearts,” said Leighann Sainato, Ticket Operations and PR Manager, West Virginia Black Bears, Class A Affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

This season, the Black Bears’ staff, interns and mascots will help distribute toys and non-perishables during the annual United Way Toy & Food Drive. In addition, staff have been shopping for gifts for Sundale Nursing Home residents who don’t have any family to bring the holiday spirit to these important members of the community.

“Our elders are often forgotten during this time of year,” said Leighann. “So, we thought it was important to spread the spirit of the season and show a little love to some of our oldest fans and neighbors.”

The team will also donate to the Shop with a Cop program sponsored by the Granville Police Department. Staff will join officers as they take children in need shopping for gifts leading up to the holidays.

As part of the Pirates Community Commitment Program, the Black Bears participate in numerous annual in-season activities including the Miracle League which brings a team of special needs athletes to town to train with the entire team. This uplifting event is a highlight of the team’s annual community calendar and something the players look forward to all year.

“It’s a really meaningful event for everyone involved,” said Leighann. “The Pirates do a great job of coordinating the event, making the guest athletes feel special and providing all kinds of league and team swag including personalized jerseys.”

During each homestand, the Black Bears plan one community event in which players visit nursing homes, hospitals and other local organizations to reinforce the importance of community service and bring these role models and leaders closer to the community.