Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski announced this evening a donation of $50,000 to The Salvation Army of Central Ohio in support of their Christmas initiatives. The gift was announced during the Blue Jackets game at Nationwide Arena against the Calgary Flames.
Werenski's gift will support The Salvation Army's Christmas Cheer Program which provides toys to local children. In addition, it will help the Salvation Army provide local families in need with food for breakfasts and traditional turkey dinners this holiday season. Army Light Sleeping Bag
"I'm very lucky to be in a position that I can help those that are less fortunate, and I am very proud to partner with the Salvation Army and its Christmas Cheer initiative to make the holidays better for those in need," said Werenski. "I love Columbus and feel a strong obligation to give back to this community and help others. That is really important to me."
"Thanks to the generosity of people like Zach, we are going to serve more families this year. We hear too often how parents have to choose between giving their children gifts, buying food or paying bills, and we want to make sure families don't have to choose. This fantastic gift from Zach will ensure The Army can provide for each this holiday season," said The Salvation Army Area Coordinator Major Tricia Brennan.
Werenski has been one of the best defensemen in the National Hockey League since joining the club in 2016. In just six years, he has appeared in two All-Star Games and become the top-scoring defenseman in franchise history. A year ago, he signed a six-year contract extension through the 2027-28 season.
This fall, he purchased a suite at Nationwide Arena and has selected special groups to enjoy a memorable night of Blue Jackets hockey in the suite throughout the season. Werenski's generosity has been extended to kids battling life-threatening illnesses, military members and their families, first responders, young people from underserved communities as well as youth hockey players.
Fans interested in supporting Werenski's efforts can do so by visiting bluejackets.com/werenskigivesback to make a donation or to learn more.
The Blue Jackets have supported The Salvation Army's Toy Drive and Christmas Cheer program for over a decade. Prior to tonight's contest, the club hosted the annual Toy Drive to collect unwrapped toys from fans and Blue Jackets staff. Since partnering with The Salvation Army on the Toy Drive, the team has collected more than 10,000 toys.
Last year, The Salvation Army provided more than 26,790 gifts to families for their children. More than 2,500 of those toys were donated through the Blue Jackets Toy Drive.
The Blue Jackets return to action on Sunday when they host the Los Angeles Kings. Game time from Nationwide Arena is 6 p.m. ET. Live coverage on Bally Sports Ohio begins with the Blue Jackets Live pre-game show starting at 7:30 p.m. The game may also be heard on the Blue Jackets Radio Network, including Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan in Columbus, and online at BlueJackets.com.
About The Salvation Army in Central Ohio
The mission of The Salvation Army is to meet human needs without discrimination. Since 1885, The Salvation Army in Central Ohio has been meeting the needs of central Ohioans through casework services, utility assistance, housing homeless families, food, clothing, youth programs, employment services, after school tutoring and enrichment, summer camp, long-term rehabilitation, services to victims of human trafficking, and spiritual guidance. The Salvation Army in Central Ohio is committed to meeting the immediate needs of people while helping them achieve long term goals. Last year, The Salvation Army in Central Ohio served nearly 95,000 people in need.