Lending a Hand
The ImpACTA Kids Foundation was recently in the news, appearing in “Around Osceola“. Jessica Solis wrote about Manny Acta’s and the Foundation’s generosity during the holiday season.
“Lending a Hand”
By Jessica Solis
Two of St. Cloud’s neediest charities are getting some extra help this holiday season, thanks to a resident eager to help his community.
Manny Acta, manager of Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals, has donated $2,500 to the St. Cloud Community Food Pantry and First United Methodist Church through ImpACTA Kids Foundation, his nonprofit organization.
Acta, a St. Cloud resident since 1988, said his foundation had wanted to do something for the St. Cloud area since it formed in 2007, by helping out local children.
But seeing how the economic downturn was affecting the ability of some local community services to keep up with public demand, prompted him to use his fledgling organization to help the two local charities, he said.
“This is the where I’ve been for so long,” Acta, a native of the Dominican Republic, said, referring to St. Cloud.
Acta said he inherited his desire to help others in need from his mom and dad. His parents helped raise neighborhood children, and although his family never struggled, he said he was always aware that others were in need of help.
“It (need) was around next door, across the street,” he said. “We could see it with our own eyes.”
Acta’s $1,500 donation to the pantry will go a long way, Peter Barber, the charity’s chairman, said, adding that demand for the bags of food the pantry provides to residents in need has increased and caused the pantry to run out of items faster than usual.
Another $1,000 will go toward Elmer’s Meal Kitchen at the First United Methodist Church in St. Cloud, which provides a hot meal every Sunday for low-income, homeless and unemployed residents. The money will help the church put together a traditional Christmas and New Year’s dinner.
The donation could even stretch into next year to help provide an Easter meal, program coordinator Carol Boroski said.
“We’re overwhelmingly grateful,” she said. “It helps to make their holidays as much of a holiday as someone who has the things that they don’t have.”
ImpACTA Kids Foundation, which Jose Acta, Manny’s brother, helps run is still in its infant stages, Manny Acta said. The nonprofit so far has provided cleats to high school baseball teams in Washington, D.C., where Acta stays during the baseball season. The foundation also is building a baseball complex in Acta’s hometown of Consuelo.
Acta said witnessing firsthand the deteriorating conditions of the field he grew up playing on prompted him to start the foundation.
“They didn’t even have a mower to cut the grass,” he said. “All I wanted to do whenever I had a chance … was not to turn my back, and help those kids play in better conditions than what I grew up playing in,” he said.
And despite his giving demeanor, Acta, who during his time as a player tutored other Spanish-speaking players in English, said he takes his success day by day.
“It could be gone tomorrow,” he said. “I feel blessed to be able to give away and still have enough for my family to be just fine.”
For more information on the foundation, visit www.impactakids.org.