This year, a bighearted baseball player is doing his part to make the holidays merry and bright.

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images.

MLB pitcher Cole Hamels and his wife Heidi donated their 32,000-square-foot(!) Missouri mansion to charity.

Photo courtesy of Camp Barnabas.


The Hamelses weren't able to put the home to good use after Cole was traded to the Texas Rangers in 2015, their lawyer told the Springfield News-Leader. It prompted them to gift it to a deserving cause.

The property, valued at $9.4 million, is quite a sight to see.

We're talking security check-in.

Photo courtesy of Camp Barnabas.

A tower with scenic views.

Photo courtesy of Camp Barnabas.

Lots and lots of parking.

Photo courtesy of Camp Barnabas.

And roughly 100 acres of surrounding land to enjoy.

Image via Google Maps.

The lucky new owners of the Hamelses' old crib? The fine folks at nonprofit Camp Barnabas.

Photo courtesy of Camp Barnabas.

Camp Barnabas, a faith-based group that gives people with various types of disabilities and chronic illnesses an affirming summer camp experience, will use the property to expand its impact.

Seeing as the sprawling property also comes with a big playground and boat docks on adjacent Table Rock Lake, the estate is the perfect place for a fun summer camp experience.

"There are tons of amazing charities in southwest Missouri," the Hamelses explained in a statement. "Out of all of these, Barnabas really pulled on our heartstrings."

“Seeing the faces, hearing the laughter, reading the stories of the kids they serve; there is truly nothing like it. Barnabas makes dreams come true, and we felt called to help them in a big way.”

Photo courtesy of Camp Barnabas.

"This is so much more than a beautiful property," Krystal Simon, chief development officer, said of the Hamels couple's gift — the largest donation ever given to the nonprofit. “This incredible gift allows us to further our ministry and truly change thousands of lives for years to come.”

'Tis the season to give big, after all.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

When schools closed early in the spring, the entire country was thrown for a loop. Parents had to figure out what to do with their kids. Teachers had to figure out how to teach students at home. Kids had to figure out how to navigate a totally new routine that was being created and altered in real time.

For many families, it was a big honking mess—one that many really don't want to repeat in the fall.

But at the same time, the U.S. hasn't gotten a handle on the coronavirus pandemic. As states have begun reopening—several of them too early, according to public health officials—COVID-19 cases have risen to the point where we now have more cases per day than we did during the height of the outbreak in the spring. And yet President Trump is making a huge push to get schools to reopen fully in the fall, even threatening to possibly remove funding if they don't.

It's worth pointing out that Denmark and Norway had 10 and 11 new cases yesterday. Sweden and Germany had around 300 each. The U.S. had 55,000. (And no, that's not because we're testing thousands of times more people than those countries are.)

The president of the country's largest teacher's union had something to say about Trump's push to reopen schools. Lily Eskelsen Garcia says that schools do need to reopen, but they need to be able to reopen safely—with measures that will help keep both students and teachers from spreading the virus and making the pandemic worse. (Trump has also criticized the CDCs "very tough & expensive guidelines" for reopening schools.)

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