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Orioles To Celebrate Birdland Community Service Heroes At Opening Day

BALTIMORE (WJZ)-- Each season the Orioles recognize individuals who serve the Maryland community in a pregame ceremony at Opening Day.

Participants in the Birdland Community Heroes Program will be honored Thursday for generously serving others.

Since the program started in 2016, the O's have honored 80 individuals who selflessly go above and beyond to help others.

"I'm just doing this from my heart. I'm not doing this for the attention or anything, so hero is kind of never intended, but it does make me feel really good," said Makenzie Greenwood of the Little Free Pantry in Hampstead.

The 10-year-old started the pantry in 2017, helping to feed more than 300 families in need.

Kim Callari of the Baltimore Station has been managing fundraising efforts for seven years. She has raised more than $3.5 million dollars for homeless veterans.

"Honestly I don't look at myself as a hero, but it's very humbling, and it just reaffirms to me that the work that I'm doing is important and that I'm going to continue to do it as long as I can," Callari said.

The Orioles also will be donating $300,000 to the Birldand Community Heroes' charities. $200,00 for the previous heroes and $100,000 for the 2018 season.

"Money goes towards therapeutic programming, towards counseling services, towards education, clothing, food, really anything and everything that they need to get back on their feet and lead a life of recovery," Callari said. "The work the Orioles do for the community is simply amazing. I was aware of what they did and now I'm more keenly aware and now I'm just proud to be supported by them."

"Let's people come anonymously and get the food they need they just can come whenever they want 24/7," Greenwood said. "I love the Orioles, like die-hard fan, I was excited because whenever I go to a game I see the Birdland Community Heroes and I thought that's something really cool that they're doing."

The Birdland Community Heroes are honored every weekend during home games throughout the season.

The O's are currently accepting nominations for 2018.

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