Andrew McCutchen, Mayor Peduto serve chili, talk reducing poverty on Pittsburgh’s North Side
Former Pirates player Andrew McCutchen spent Monday night serving up bowls of chili alongside Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto while the pair discussed ways to reduce poverty across Western Pennsylvania.
Between scoops, the hairnet-donning outfielder — whom fans affectionately refer to as “Cutch” or “No. 22” — fist-bumped, shook hands and posed for photos with a few dozen men getting emergency shelter and food assistance from the Light of Life Rescue Mission, a nonprofit based in a building on North Avenue near Federal Street on Pittsburgh’s North Side.
McCutchen keeps a home in Pittsburgh with his wife, Maria Hanslovan, a Dubois native expected to give birth to their second child in December, and said he owes the city and its fans his gratitude and service.
“They gave me a lot here. It’s only right to be able to give back any time I get the opportunity,” McCutchen said while helping about a dozen volunteers serve Monday’s free meal.
“It’s something that I’m just going to continue to keep doing, because this is the place that I call home.”
The event marked a piece of what McCutchen’s charitable group has dubbed “Cutch Week,” during which McCutchen, Project Pittsburgh and volunteers are participating in various service events. In addition to serving meals to the needy, they are visiting hospital patients, reading to children at libraries, working on building houses for low-income families and running a youth baseball clinic.
“There’s a lot of ways that we can all help. It all starts with just devising a plan together and going out there and doing it, being proactive about it,” McCutchen said.
Light of Life is a Christian-based nonprofit that has been tending to the homeless in Pittsburgh since 1952 and is raising funds toward a $9 million expansion.
Peduto talked to McCutchen casually about several city programs in the works, including the expansion of Light of Life as well as Bethlehem Haven women’s shelter and Pittsburgh Mercy’s Operation Safety Net.
The mayor mentioned a study by The Pittsburgh Foundation on the region’s need to build a new, 80-bed homeless shelter that can be opened to anyone in need year-round, regardless of circumstances or religion. A county-funded emergency shelter that opened Downtown on Friday only stays open through the cold, winter months.
Peduto cited his goal to build on success in reducing the number of homeless veterans citywide from more than 400 just five years ago to less than 50.
On Saturday, McCutchen was at Macy’s department store at South Hills Village in Upper St. Clair helping Milliones Pittsburgh Prep students pick out clothing to wear for internships and job interviews.
“At the end of the day, you’re just trying to lend a helping hand, and there’s so many people that could use it,” McCutchen said.
To the chagrin of many Pittsburgh sports fans, McCutchen was traded to the San Francisco Giants in January 2017 after spending the first nine seasons of his career with the Pirates. After playing the last month of the 2017 season with the New York Yankees after a trade, McCutchen signed a three-year, $50-million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies as a free agent last December.
McCutchen was limited to 59 games this year, suffering a season-ending torn ACL in his left knee June 3 in a game at San Diego. He batted .256 with 10 home runs.
McCutchen said Monday that he expects to be ready to fully participate when spring training begins in February.
“I’m just working towards that and rehabbing my knee right now, so, when the time comes, I’ll be ready to go,” McCutchen said.
He was placed on the injured list only one other time in his career, missing the minimum 15 days with a broken left rib in 2014.
Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter .