Monday afternoon, the Columbus Blue Jackets dished out assists off the ice as part of a community day of service around Central Ohio. Players visited four different basic needs charities where they partnered with corporate sponsors to lend a hand to those less fortunate during the holiday season.
Spread out across the community, participating charities included the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio, Mid-Ohio Foodbank, St. Stephen’s Community House and Broad Street Presbyterian Food Pantry. At the Furniture Bank, the players’ power tool skills were put to the test as they assembled kitchen tables for families struggling to furnish their own homes. The tables assembled will land in homes in less than a week, with two lucky families receiving a table signed by Captain Rick Nash, Jeff Carter, Aaron Johnson, Nikita Nikitin, Sammy Pahlsson, Curtis Sanford and Fedor Tyutin.
At Broad Street Presbyterian Food Pantry, R.J. Umberger, Grant Clitsome, Marc Methot and Steve Mason helped the pantry move and reorganize food in preparation for a 10,000 lb. delivery Tuesday morning. Work that players’ completed in one hour would have taken the pantry well over six hours to complete.
Monday was Jared Boll, Mark Letestu, Vinny Prospal and James Wisniewski’s first visit to a food pantry when they visited the St. Stephen’s Community House. The players assisted pantry shoppers with their carts and food selections, helped load groceries for clients into cars, and played with kids at the agency’s daycare. Each child in the daycare also left with a Blue Jackets winter hat from the players.
Mid-Ohio Foodbank accepted help from Antoine Vermette, Derick Brassard, Ryan Johansen, Derek MacKenzie, and John Moore, where the guys helped load food donations into the vehicles of food pantry and soup kitchen volunteers. Additionally, the players helped prepare for the following day’s food donations by sorting cases of frozen chicken. Rookie John Moore served as the “foreman” on the project, while Derek MacKenzie took on the role of supervisor.