The Mets will donate $250,000 to help restore areas devastated by the storm, third baseman David Wright announced Thursday at P.S. 38 in Grant City, where he spoke to students whose lives had been disrupted.
“The goal was to come up to not only donate the money, but to donate the time to come in and say hello and hang out with the kids a little bit,” Wright said. “I consider New York a second home.”
The money will go to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, which provides food, supplies, clothing, blankets, cleaning materials and more to the victims of the storm.
Wright, who had not been back to the city since the hurricane, said seeing the devastation firsthand was worse than he had thought.
“The pictures, the stories, do not do it justice,” he said. “There’s a lot more that all of us could do to help out.”
City Councilman James Oddo, who said he was a lifelong Mets fan, commended Wright for coming to the Lincoln Avenue school and said the visit lifted Staten Islanders' spirits.
“You being here means so much to us,” Oddo said. “I and other Staten Islanders witnessed some images that we thought were reserved for the movie screen. We saw things that we had only seen before on television. You being here to literally and figuratively put your arms around these kids and the Staten Island community means so much to us.”
During his speech to students, Wright — who has weathered hurricanes in his native Virginia Beach — told them that ultimately the storm will make the community stronger.
“If there's one piece of advice, or one piece of commentary, I can give you guys is that every hurricane that came through, the community always rallied around each other and became stronger afterwards,” Wright said. “You guys are going to build back, stronger and better than ever.”
Nearly 80 percent of students and faculty at P.S. 38 were affected by the storm, and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott commended the school's staff for opening right when school re-started after the hurricane.
“The school stayed open — it transcended the storm,” Walcott said. “It met the needs of the students on a regular basis.”
After the announcement, Wright and others handed out free baseball hats to the students, and the children crowded Wright to get an autograph.
Before he left, Wright even got to take a swing at a few pitches thrown by Oddo.
“I got a little nervous when I saw him gripping something weird and stretching out his arm,” Wright said. “I thought that I’d be in trouble a little bit.”
Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said he will ensure that a large part of the donation goes to Staten Island.
“We’re willing to give back to the community," Wilpon said, "and support people in times of need."