John Buck is taking some big swings to help area children find homes.
This season, the Royals catcher is showing his support to local foster care programs with the creation of the "Buckaroos" section at Kauffman Stadium and by lending his name and voice to the Adoption Heart Gallery.
Working with the Missouri Department of Social Services, Buck will host children from foster homes to each of the Royals remaining Dodge Buck Nights this season -- May 30, June 11, July 25, Aug. 8, Sept. 5 and Sept. 19 -- providing complimentary tickets, food coupons and special "Buckaroos" T-shirts for the kids to wear. In addition, the Royals catcher will have a personal meet and greet with the kids prior to each game.
The "Buckaroos" program concept springs from Buck's partnership this season with the Adoption Heart Gallery. On Wednesday, May 14, Buck visited the Heart Gallery, which features photos of nearly 250 foster children in Missouri who are searching for permanent, loving homes, at Crown Center in Kansas City, Mo. From May until October, the Heart Gallery will travel to 16 Missouri cities.
"Being a parent is an awesome responsibility," Buck said. "My wife and I are expecting twins soon and as we prepare for parenthood, we are very aware of the children in the Heart Gallery who need caring adults in their lives."
Introduced to the state by Governor Matt Blunt, the Heart Gallery is entering its third year in Missouri and, in the first two years, featured more than 330 children in 230 portraits. The end result was the placement of more than 100 children in adoptive homes. This year's Heart Gallery features 238 Missouri children in 185 portraits. For each Heart Gallery, hundreds of Missouri photographers donate their time and resources to make the project a success.
Buck, who has been with the Royals since 2004, just hopes his support of the Heart Gallery and his commitment to hosting children from foster homes at Kauffman Stadium will help find homes for all the young "Buckaroos" who need them.