Dalton Pompey is looking to give back to the Guelph community.
The Guelph Royals outfielder will be pulling double-duty on Saturday: playing in the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7:30 p.m. and hosting a food drive.
"It's something that I thought about for a while," he told GuelphToday. "I worked with food banks in the past, and it's always been something that interests me."
Pompey said he knows times are hard right now with inflation and the cost of living, and took the idea to both team owner Shawn Fuller and manager Dino Roumel.
Both, naturally, got on board.
"When you see the impact of the food bank, and how many people actually use it, that really to me was kind of like the light bulb (that) went off in my head," Pompey said.
He said fans coming in have a couple different options: donate for an autograph or something from the concession stand.
"If they don't bring anything, they can also donate money," Pompey added. "I'll be the one who goes to the grocery store and picks up a bunch of stuff with the extra money, and donate it all at one time."
The former Blue Jay has looked good in Royal blue. Through 14 games, he's batting a .321 average, and has a .463 on-base percentage, among the league leaders in both categories.
He's a big part of the Guelph offense, helping the team to an 11-7 record, third in the IBL as we near the halfway point of the season.
Pompey, arguably the league's highest-profile signing in the off-season, is enjoying his first foray in the Intercounty Baseball League.
"I've noticed that it's more competitive than I thought it would be," he said. "I kind of came in with no real expectations whatsoever, and guys told me how it was going to be, and it kind of lived up to that in the sense that guys come and they care."
Notably, he's enjoying getting to combine playing baseball at a high level, and also soaking in more downtime than what he's experienced in the last number of years, playing up to 160 games a year in the professional ranks and travelling across North America.
"It's been a lot easier on my body for sure, less taxing," Pompey said. "But we've been playing well as a team, so we'll see how it goes. Hopefully we can keep it up and continue it on into the playoffs."
Beyond this season, he is open to a return to professional baseball. But for now, Pompey is enjoying the process and playing in Guelph.
"I was thinking that I was going to play in the IBL for one season," he said. "But after being here and actually enjoying my time and the competitive atmosphere I'm in, I could see myself playing a few more years (in the IBL) after this one, if I obviously don't get signed.
"We'll cross that bridge when it gets here."
The Royals have a busy weekend, including the food drive game on Saturday against Toronto.
It starts with a Canada Day game Friday against the Kitchener Panthers at 1 p.m. at David E. Hastings Stadium.