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Published: Friday, 5/15/2009

Anonymous donor sends needy families to ballpark

BY JC REINDL
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Walden Wilson from Lucas County Jobs and Family Services agency hands Jenica Brady vouchers that will allow her to attend a free Toledo Mud Hens game. Walden Wilson from Lucas County Jobs and Family Services agency hands Jenica Brady vouchers that will allow her to attend a free Toledo Mud Hens game.
THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge | Buy This Photo

A generous and nameless benefactor is taking about 4,000 people out to a Toledo Mud Hens game, including Angelia Albright and her two young sons.

The South Toledo mother was in line yesterday inside the Lucas County Job and Family Services office when the good news spilled from the public address system: Come get your free Mud Hens tickets.

"As soon as they made that announcement, I took off running," she recalled, grateful to save the full admission price of $9 for adults and $7 for children. "This is like a little luxury for us. Without the tickets, we wouldn't be going."

The Mud Hens are working with both Lucas and Wood counties' Job and Family Services agencies to distribute roughly 4,000 tickets on behalf of a donor who wishes to remain anonymous, said Cheri Pastula, the ball club's manager of community relations.

The donor's one stipulation is that the tickets go to low-income families, those without the financial means to regularly attend Mud Hens games. Ms. Pastula said she knew of no other Mud Hens ticket giveaway on such a scale.

The Lucas County agency began distributing its share of ticket vouchers in its lobby at 3210 Monroe St.

It received 1,500 vouchers, each redeemable at Fifth Third Field for two tickets for games scheduled either last night, May 25, May 26, or June 1.

Staff members gave away vouchers based on the size of a person's family.

Executive Director Deb Ortiz-Flores said her agency occasionally has received gifts to distribute such as holiday turkeys, but never before so many game tickets.

"We've never had this amount of donation," she said. "Our clients are facing tough challenges, and some fun might be good for them."

Amanda Fredrick, 28, of East Toledo arrived at the agency's office carrying paperwork for her public assistance. She left smiling and clutching ticket vouchers for herself, her fiance, and her four children.

"This is very exciting because tickets are expensive," Ms. Fredrick said.

Alicia Hopkins, 34, called the ticket giveaway a wonderful gift to the community.

Ms. Hopkins operates Fingerprints Learning Center in Sylvania and was turning in paperwork for the children who attend.

"It's something to do for free, and you can't beat that," she said.

Contact JC Reindl at:

jreindl@theblade.com

or 419-724-6065.



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