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12/14/11 7:40 PM EST

Yanks hold food drive to help neighbors in need

Cano, Girardi assist as club conducts 18th annual collection effort

NEW YORK -- Robinson Cano and Joe Girardi were back at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday for the Yankees' 18th annual food drive, helping to collect more than 100,000 pounds of food for those in need.

The drive continued a tradition that has followed the team across 161st Street.

"I love it," Girardi said. "I think it's really important for our community and the Yankees to come together, to really feed people. This is what it's all about."

The Yankees announced that the total donation was a record-setting 109,301 pounds of food, plus $573 in cash donations. All donations will be distributed throughout the Bronx to those in need.

For Cano, the charitable efforts served as a reminder of what is going on not only in New York but in his native Dominican Republic.

"Coming from a poor country, this really means a lot to me, especially in the situation right now," Cano said. "The economy is really down. These are the kinds of things I always like to [do], help other people."

Any fan who brought at least 30 pounds of nonperishable food to the Stadium was rewarded with a voucher good for tickets to selected games during the 2012 season, as well as an opportunity to interact with Cano and Girardi.

Girardi was amazed by the turnout, noting that some individuals showed up with hundreds of pounds of food.

"To give food in the community to people who really need it -- that's a necessity in life, it's not a luxury," Girardi said. "For the community, for people from the Tri-State area to come down and give up their resources to help people in the Bronx, I think it's a great thing."

Partner White Rose donated 60,000 pounds of canned goods, and Domino Sugar contributed $15,000 worth of five-pound sugar bags. ACE Endico made a donation of 6,250 pounds of food.

Cano has had a busy offseason, one that included a trip to Taiwan with teammate Curtis Granderson as part of a Major League Baseball exhibition tour. Still, the invitation to attend Wednesday's food drive was easy to accept.

"It's an honor to be here today," Cano said. "They asked me if I could come and I said yes right away."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.