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04/15/2010 3:25 PM ET
Pittsburgh Pirates and West Virginia Power Partner to raise funds for the Montcoal Mining Disaster Fund
Donations will be collected at gates of both ballparks during home games on April 17
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
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Pirates Charities, the philanthropic arm of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Pirates low class-A affiliate West Virginia Power announced today that they will partner to raise funds to benefit the Montcoal Mining Disaster Fund by collecting donations from fans during each team's respective home game on Saturday, April 17.

The fund has been established to help support the families of the 29 fallen miners who tragically passed away in an explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, West Virginia on April 5. Montcoal is located just 45 miles south of the Power's Charleston, West Virginia home.

Pirates players and Pirates Charities representatives will be stationed at all PNC Park entrances beginning at 5:30 p.m. when gates open and staff will remain at the gates to collect donations until the end of the third inning. Fans wishing to make contributions after the third inning can visit the Main Guest Relations office located on the Main Concourse behind section 117.

In addition, Pirates Charities will host a silent auction during the April 17 game outside the Main Guest Relations office with all proceeds also being donated to the Disaster Fund. Fans will have the opportunity to bid on Pirates memorabilia, as well as items from across Major League Baseball. The auction will end after the conclusion of the seventh inning.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of those that were lost in the Upper Big Branch accident. The coal industry and the families that comprise it are the backbone of West Virginia and a major part of the West Virginia Power baseball family. We are extremely appreciative of the sacrifices they make that often go unnoticed until tragedy puts its spotlight on them," said Power Executive Vice President Andy Milovich. "We are proud to partner with the Pittsburgh Pirates and baseball fans throughout the region to raise money for these families to help in their time of need." The Power is working on plans for additional fundraising efforts that will be announced shortly.

All contributions raised at the gates and during the silent auction will be donated to Montcoal Mining Disaster Fund care of the West Virginia Council of Churches. The collected funds will be presented to West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin at PNC Park on Tuesday, April 20 when the Pirates take on the Milwaukee Brewers at 7:05 p.m.

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