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07/09/09 12:47 PM ET

'Hits for Hunger' will benefit charity

Bank of America Charitable Foundation to donate $5,000 per hit

When some of the game's top sluggers step to the plate at this year's All-Star Game, they'll not only be looking to capture home-field advantage in the upcoming World Series, they'll be trying to fight hunger.

In response to the growing need for emergency food assistance nationwide, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation announced Thursday that it will donate $5,000 for every recorded hit in the Midsummer Classic, scheduled for Tuesday at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The charity will be part of Feeding America -- the nation's leading hunger-relief organization.

The program, named "Hits for Hunger," also allows fans to make contributions to provide food for people across the country by logging on to http://feedingamerica.org/http://feedingamerica.org/.

On top of donating $5,000 per hit, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation will match the total online donations made to Feeding America during the All-Star Game -- up to a maximum contribution of $100,000. Funds generated through "Hits for Hunger" will directly benefit the St. Louis Area Foodbank, one of 206 food banks in Feeding America's network.

"Bank of America's support could not come at a better time," Frank Finnegan, executive director of the St. Louis Area Foodbank, said in a news release. "Over the past year, we've seen more than a 15 percent increase in the need for food from the agencies we support. Whether it's the people who have sought assistance before or the many new faces needing aid, we're going to need help sustaining our efforts to get food on the table over the long haul."

According to a recent survey, the demand at Feeding America's food banks increased by an average of 30 percent since last year. The survey also found that people are eating less food, smaller meals and even skipping meals because they simply lack the funds to buy food, the release stated.

Since 2008, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation has contributed more than $2 million to Feeding America and its food-rescue affiliates, while bank associates volunteered nearly 8,000 hours to assist with hunger relief efforts.

"We are extremely grateful to Bank of America for the ongoing support in the fight against hunger in this country," Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America, said in the release. "With 36 million people currently at risk of hunger across the country, it is important now more than ever that we raise awareness and join together to fight domestic hunger. We greatly appreciate Bank of America's engagement in the cause."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.