June 9, 2015
Media Contact: Natalie Schrimpf 216.696.6525 x. 2520
St. Vincent de Paul Society Client to Throw First Pitch at June 24 Cleveland Indians vs. Detroit Tigers Game
(Cleveland, OH) Each year, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Cleveland helps thousands of Northeast Ohio residents in need with emergency assistance. But for one lucky client, SVDP is also giving him a chance of a lifetime to toss the first pitch at the Cleveland versus Detroit baseball game on Wednesday, June 24 at noon at Progressive Field. The Society’s afternoon at the ballpark is in celebration of its inception on that date 150 years earlier.
William Royce, a lifelong Cleveland Indians fan, turned to SVDP more than a year ago when he was unable to pay his electric bill and his power was in danger of being shut off. He currently relies upon the organization to supplement meals via its food pantries while he is unemployed. Royce is incredibly excited about the opportunity to throw the first pitch and was in disbelief when he received the Society’s invitation.
“Baseball has always been a part of my life. I used to collect baseball cards and started playing on a team when I was six years old,” he recalled. “I then progressed to playing hard ball in my hometown of Lakewood and even played on several championship teams.”
As grateful as he is for the chance to toss out the first pitch at a major league game, he is equally thankful for the fact that SVDP has been there when he needed help the most. “They have come to my rescue with help for survival, whether it’s with the electric bill, food or other basic necessities. They keep everyday life in focus because they’re there for my living needs,” he said.
The Society regarded the opportunity as a fun way to brighten up a client’s day, according to John Litten, SVDP executive director.
“We were so excited when the Cleveland Indians allowed us this opportunity on our 150th Anniversary. As an organization that puts the people it serves first, it only made sense to give this experience to someone we’ve helped,” he said.
Established in 1865, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Diocese of Cleveland is a local human service and welfare organization of neighborhood volunteer groups residing in participating parishes (“Conferences”) throughout the Diocese of Cleveland’s eight-county service area. Volunteers (“Vincentians”) provide temporary emergency direct assistance to those in need, regardless of their race, ethnicity or religious affiliation. Last year alone, some 260,000 low-income individuals received nearly $5 million in aid, which included food donations from SVDP’s multiple food pantries, clothing, furniture, job training, back-to-school supplies and assistance with utilities and rent. SVDP’s central office is located at 1404 East Ninth Street, Cleveland. For more information, call 216.696.6525, ext. 3150 or svdpcle.org.