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Former Cub Kerry Wood Hosts Fifth Annual Woody's Winter Warmup

(CBS) -- When pitcher Kerry Wood retired a Cub, he knew he wanted to stay in Chicago and give back.

"This city has really embraced me and my family. I'm from Texas but I've been in Chicago longer than I was in Texas," said Wood.

"I was drafted when I was 17, so people started reading about me at 17 and I was here at 20. Chicago saw me grow up. I had some ups and downs with my career with my health and the community has always been so supportive. I've met so many great people here over the years, it was common sense, it was a no brainer to use the platform that we have to help the community and do better for kids here."

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In June 2011, Wood, and his wife, Sarah, founded the Wood Family Foundation, a non-profit organization that serves as an advocate for Chicagoland children by raising awareness and funds for children's charities and programs.

Over the years, WFF has dedicated a playroom at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago for children undergoing treatment for cancer, helped build a state-of-the art baseball field next to Lane Tech High School and established an after school mentoring program in Lawndale.

Kerry Wood Foundation
Kerry Wood and Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo at last year's event. (Credit: Wood Family Foundation Facebook page).

"We launched this mentoring program two years ago," Wood said. "We chose Lawndale Community Academy. We just get in and help kids navigate school and get to high school. We help kids get from fourth grade to eighth grade and hopefully they come back full circle to our scholarship program."

Wood says this year's fifth annual Woody's Winter Warmup on Friday, January 15 at Harry Caray's 7th Inning Stretch, will benefit the foundation and get Cub fans excited for the upcoming season.

Kerry Wood Foundation
Kerry Wood and his wife ,Sarah. (Credit: Wood Family Foundation Facebook page).

"This is one of our signature events," Wood said. "We timed it with the Cubs convention, all the players are in, everyone is excited about talking about baseball again, spring training is right around the corner. The guys love getting behind the bar, fans can interact with the players and talk baseball. It's just an intimate night with the guys. It's a special weekend."

The pitcher even came up with a signature drink for the event. Woody's Wicked Whiskey Mule will be offered at all Harry Caray's restaurants leading up to the event. All proceeds go to the Wood Family Foundation.

Wood says he hopes to raise $175,000 for the mentoring program.

Some familiar faces who will be bartending include Manager of the year Joe Maddon, NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta, Anthony Rizzo, former players Ryne Sandberg and Fergie Jenkins and many others. WBBM's Lisa Fielding will be also be one of the celebrity bartenders.

General admission tickets are $150 and all proceeds benefit the Wood Family Foundation and its after-school mentoring program, Pitch In.

You can find out more about the event at woodfamilyfoundation.org.

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