Former MLB player hands out free groceries during 'Grand Giving' event at Bronzeville Mariano's

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A former Major League Baseball player is pitching in to help people in need.

Curtis Granderson grew up in Illinois and played at UIC. But Sunday he helped hand out free groceries to Chicagoans in need at the Bronzeville Mariano's.

The "Grand Giving" partnership between the grocery store chain and Granderson is nothing new, but the annual food pantry event takes on even more urgency in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"As everything continues to shut down, get closed, you still stay hungry," Granderson said. "That's something that doesn't go away."

The pandemic challenges have led some, like Lee Hodges II, to the food pantry event for the first time.

"Hours are being cut back at jobs, which means less money to get food," he said.

For Jerell Anthony, knowing he has fewer groceries to worry about means peace of mind for his 4-year-old daughter.

"Let your kids know that, regardless of what the parents are going through, you know we have, we got home taken care of," Anthony said.

Granderson said his organization and Mariano's handed out more than a thousand bags of food during the event Sunday.

And if this inspires you to give back, there's still time to donate at stores all across Chicago.

"Come to any Mariano's location when you're getting a chance to checkout. They say, 'Hey, would you like to donate a $1, $5, $10, or any amount?' Those proceeds are going to Grand Giving which is then going to help the Chicago Greater Food Depository," Granderson said.

"Seeing him doing it in our community goes a long way," said Hodges.

For Granderson, it's a chance to also dispel negative stereotypes of his hometown by highlighting Chicagoans' giving spirit.

"We have so many great things and I want to make sure people understand and know that about Chicago," Granderson said.
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