EVANSVILLE, Ind. – With the start of the baseball season at Bosse Field delayed for now due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Evansville Otters organization is filling the time by giving back with community service.
Community outreach has always been highly valued by the Otters organization, and the staff have been especially active in the last few weeks when needed the most.
“Our family may own the team, but the Otters belong to the community,” Otters owner Bill Bussing said. “Just look at the team’s name, and for 25 years, our fans have filled Bosse Field, win or lose.”
“In times like these, we think it’s important to reciprocate that support. A community is only as strong as its members, and we’re proud to help as best we can.”
Four organizations have especially benefitted from the assistance of the Otters, including the Dream Center, the EVSC, the Tri-State Food Bank, and Meals on Wheels of Evansville.
“The Otters staff and management take great joy in seeing so many of our fans attend games during the season every year, and we miss that right now,” Otters president John Stanley said. “However, we also know many people in our community are in need of services at this time.”
Stanley stated the Otters staff got together and made the decision to spend the time helping others, a decision which was supported with a lot of enthusiasm by the staff.
“It’s been eye-opening to see how the coronavirus has impacted families in our community, but it feels very rewarding to be able to help out,” Otters assistant general manager Elspeth Urbina said.
With stay-at-home orders in place and emphasized restrictions on at-risk groups, many people are in a difficult situation to go out and retrieve the necessities and food they need.
Josh Wilson, assistant general manager with the Otters, says that the elderly and disabled are in the high-risk population for the virus, so being able to provide them with essentials every week so they do not have to expose themselves to the larger population is very important.
The Otters’ staff have helped deliver groceries prepared by the Dream Center to families in the immediate Jacobsville area near Bosse Field. The Otters have also helped hand out lunches to students and families with the EVSC, prepare meal packages with the Tri-State Food Bank, and also collect and deliver warm, nutritious meals to the elderly and to handicapped individuals who are homebound through Meals on Wheels of Evansville.
“Many people are restricted to staying home, and with food supply limited because of the high demand in places, we’re more than willing to help them get the essentials they need at this time and hopefully make life feel as close to normal as possible,” Otters director of communications Preston Leinenbach said.
“Plus, there are kids who are out of school and reside in low-income areas, so packing lunches and groceries are important because many students rely on school lunches throughout the year,” Wilson said. “We are able to provide that while school is out, and they may not have other means.”
Otters account executive Keith Millikan has also helped with food preparation and delivery at the CK Newsome Community Center and at the Glenwood Leadership Academy.
“Volunteering has given me time to appreciate the important aspects of life, and I’m out to help more than I have before,” Millikan said.
“We know the community supports us and this is our chance to support the community in return and we are glad to do it!” Stanley said.
The Evansville Otters are the 2006 and 2016 Frontier League champions.
The Otters play all home games at historic Bosse Field, located at 23 Don Mattingly Way in Evansville, Ind. Stay up-to-date with the Evansville Otters by visiting evansvilleotters.com, or follow the Otters on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
For more information, visit evansvilleotters.com or call (812) 435-8686.