ST. LOUIS • As members of The Gathering, a Methodist church in St. Louis, began hearing stories Thursday of the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments happening across the city in the wake of news that Albert Pujols had signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, they decided to act.
"We heard people were burning their Pujols jerseys, and someone said, 'Why don't we ask them to donate the jerseys, and we'll give them away?" said the pastor, the Rev. Matt Miofsky. "It's a better way to respond."
The five-year-old church christened the effort the "Recyce the Five Drive," and began Facebook and Twitter campaigns to let disappointed Cardinals fans that they could turn their anger into a positive.
"Don't burn those Pujols jerseys!" read the church's Facebook status update Thursday. "Bring them to The Gathering United Methodist Church-during business hours and on Sunday."
On Friday, a church Tweet went out: "Don't burn that Pujols T-shirt or jersey! Bring it to 2105 McCausland. We'll donate it to a charity in Anaheim. Seriously."
The church brings in about 600 to 700 mostly young people to three worship services each Sunday. The staff believes that most of the Pujols gear donations will come in this Sunday.
"So much of faith is about perspective," Miofsky said. "There's collective disappointment and anger among some in community, and part job our as a church is to help people funnel those feelings into a making a positive difference."
Miofsky said a member of The Gathering, at 2105 McCausland, just southwest of Forest Park, has a friend in the Angels organization, and the church is working with Pujols's new team to find an appropriate clothing bank.
Meanwhile, Miofsky and his staff are preparing for a big haul for L.A.'s homeless.
"I have no idea what kind of response we'll get," said the pastor. "But we have a whole garage ready that can be filled up with stuff."