06/01/12 12:25 AM ET
Pence hosts first charity event in Philadelphia
By Jake Kaplan / MLB.com
On Thursday night the two-time All-Star hosted his first charity event in Philadelphia: "Let's Go Eat: Food & Fun Fest." The event was held at the Moshulu, a historic four-masted ship and restaurant on the waterfront, and raised money and awareness for Make-A-Wish Philadelphia & Susquehanna Valley, Philabundance and Phillies Charities Inc.
The vast amount of guests, which included 10 Phillies players, club president David Montgomery and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., enjoyed a band, both a live and a silent auction, a table-tennis tournament and, of course, plenty of food and beverages.
Pence said that the support of the Philadelphia fans means a lot to him, and that he is honored and humbled to be able to put on an event such as Thursday's benefit.
"It's a community that I've really just enjoyed being a part of," Pence said. "I love the city. I love the fans, the way they treat me, the way they treat us. Really, I couldn't be more grateful to be here and to be able to do something like this."
For the organizations Pence is aiding, the feeling was mutual.
Make-A-Wish provides children with life-threatening medical conditions experiences they wouldn't otherwise receive. Philabundance helps provide food for those in the Delaware Valley in need, and Phillies Charities Inc., the organization's fund-raising division, gives grants to multiple charities every year.
"You can tell [Pence] is all about caring about the community and kids," said Marianne Lynch, the director of development for Philabundance. "It's going to make a tremendous difference for us. We can provide two meals for a dollar, and so every dollar raised tonight will help us feed the community."
Thursday's benefit also gave the players, who hadn't a day off since May 10, a chance to relax and have a good time away from the diamond. Chase Utley, Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino and John Mayberry Jr. were among those who supported their teammate and the causes.
"It's awesome," Mayberry Jr. said. "It's a great opportunity for us to really give back to the community."
The event kicked off with a meet-and-greet session and a cocktail reception, but after introductions, the focus quickly switched to one of Pence's favorite games: table tennis. Some lucky guests had a chance to play in a tournament against members of the Phillies.
"I'm kind of putting my stamp on it," Pence said of including the game in the event. "A lot of people talk about how good they are, and there's a lot of competition on the team, so I just figured it'd be something fun, something unique, and it's something I enjoy."
Said Amaro, who knew a bit about Pence's personality and history with community service before the Phillies traded for him last July: "Clearly, Hunter's lived up to the hype as far as that is concerned."
Amaro was also impressed that so many of Pence's teammates came to support the event, even on an off-day.
"That's one of the things that we should feel very proud of as an organization, and really as a city, because we have players and we have people who really care and are very supportive," he said. "That's a neat testament to the guys."
Jake Kaplan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.