The World Series has returned to St. Louis, and with it the eyes of the baseball public at large. Nearly three hundred miles away, in the small city of Joplin, Mo., the everyday duty of recovery continues for the residents of a community stricken by a tornado a little more than five months ago.
Major League Baseball has aided in Joplin's recovery from a May storm that destroyed nearly 7,000 homes and took the lives of 162 city residents. MLB and the MLB Players Association made a $200,000 donation that has enabled Heart to Heart International to aid in the relief effort.
Heart to Heart served as one of the early responders after Joplin was struck by the tornado, and its representatives worked to provide free medical care to the emergency workers and search-and-rescue crews. Heart to Heart also aided displaced people after they were allowed back to enter the damage zone, and it's acted as a stabilizing influence in Joplin over the last few months.
The financial contribution made by MLB and the MLBPA helped Heart to Heart set up a long-term foundation in Joplin, and the group continues to work with local clinics and the community.
A team from Joplin's local Little League was involved in the third annual Jr. RBI Classic during All-Star Week, giving the city a visual footprint in one of baseball's marquee events. The team played in six games during the tourney and participated in a skills clinic hosted by Arizona star Justin Upton. Ten of the 12 players on the team reportedly lost their homes in the tornado that ravaged their city.
Heart to Heart deployed and maintained mobile medical clinics in Joplin after the crisis and was able to treat nearly 6,000 people in the days and weeks after the natural disaster. The relief organization has also led and participated in several community-health events in Joplin and in other tornado-ravaged communities, helping to interface people in need of assistance with quality care.
And the work isn't done. Heart to Heart is working with local entities in Joplin and neighboring communities to lay out a long-term plan to improve health care for citizens who need it.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.