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Knights take time out to help others

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- Steve Lyttle, slyttle@charlotteobserver.com
Erik Hassy (left), of Ovations Food Services, and Charlotte Knights media relations director Tommy Viola sort through donated items Tuesday at Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina. (Staff photo, Steve Lyttle.)

The Charlotte Knights are only days away from their biggest move in a quarter-century, but a dozen front-office staff members took several hours Tuesday morning to help others.

Office staff joined other volunteers at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, helping organize items that will be given to those in need.

“We’re here because we want to help, and because we hope it will stimulate others to help,” said Lindsey Roycraft, community relations director for the Class AAA baseball club.

On Friday, the Knights will shut down their offices in Fort Mill, their home for about 25 years. They will move to a temporary office on South Graham Street, a few dozen yards from their new BB&T Ballpark that will open this spring in Charlotte’s uptown.

“It’s the offseason, and our players aren’t here, but we wanted to come out and help,” said Tommy Viola, the Knights’ media relations director. “We helped at the men’s shelter last month, and we’ve done other things for Second Harvest. This gave us a chance to see how it all comes together.”

The Knights worked Tuesday in Second Harvest’s non-food area. They sorted through a variety of donated items, ranging from baby diapers to kitchen clocks and tableware. The items then were organized into categories.

“Volunteer help like this is vital to us,” said Linda Petras, volunteer coordinator for Second Harvest. “Without the help, items back up in a hurry.”

Viola said the Knights’ staff is looking forward to the big move. He said 90 percent of the work has been completed at the new stadium, including installation of seats and sod.

The framework for the scoreboard – which the Knights say is the biggest in the minor leagues – has been installed.

Office staff will move into permanent offices at the ballpark in February, and the team’s new pro shop will open in early March.

The season opener is April 11 against the Norfolk Tides.

Lyttle: 704-358-6107; Twitter: @slyttle
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