The Boston Men’s Baseball League has long included community service projects as part of its mission, raising money for charities seeking a cure for ALS or others that provide toys for needy children during the holidays.
So when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, league president Jeff Coveney looked for a way the approximately 700 players in his league could help.
They settled on Heal with a Meal, a group formed earlier this month to provide ready-to-eat meals or gift cards from local restaurants for the medical professionals working long hours at Newton-Wellesley Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Needham.
“It was a natural thing for us to pitch in and help them out,” Coveney said. “It was something we could do for the people who work at the hospitals and help out those restaurants, too. It’s a tough economy for a lot of people.”
Three days after the league joined the cause, it became personal for Coveney when his father tested positive for the virus. David Coveney then died on Saturday at Newton-Wellesley. He said goodbye to his family via FaceTime.
“It happened so quickly,” Coveney said. “When I called the hospital to check on my father I could hear the stress in the voices of the people I was talking to. These people were risking their lives to help others. You can’t say enough about them.”
Coveney’s mother, Helene, also tested positive.
“It’s been instrumental for me and my family to help see if something positive can come of this situation by helping the people at the hospital.” Coveney said.
It’s working. With the BMBL chipping in, Heal with a Meal had raised nearly $20,000 as of Thursday. Coveney and seven other players from the league also put together a two-minute video they spread through social media to help raise awareness for the campaign.
David Coveney was a familiar face for players in the BMBL. He attended roughly 300 games over the years to support his son’s team, the Waltham Cutters. He even gave batting tips.
“He loved baseball and being at the games with my mom,” Coveney said. “He was a fixture.”
The BMBL was scheduled to start playing last week. The tentative plan is to have an abbreviated season once restrictions are lifted, perhaps even in the fall.
“Obviously everybody wants to do the right thing and do it safely,” Coveney said. “Hopefully we can have a season.”
For now, the focus will be on helping make life a little easier for the staff at the two hospitals.
To donate, go to www.healwithameal.org.