St. Louis Cardinals team with Habitat for Humanity in Joplin; McGwire, Matheny join effort

JOPLIN, Mo -- It's been more than a year since a tornado devastated the community of Joplin. It left many without a home. Some residents still don't have a home.

Habitat for Humanity is trying to change that, and they are getting a little help from theSt. Louis Cardinals.   

It's a new house and a new beginning for Sharon Brumley and her family. "This is ours forever. You don't have to move no more. Isn't that exciting?" Brumley said to her daughter.

The Brumley's added a new member just days before the Joplin tornado hit. "We had lost my sister prior to that so I'm raising my nephew as well as my two children," she said.

It's being made possible by Habitat for Humanity with a little help from some familiar faces.

"Guess who is helping us build it?" Brumley asked her daughter. "The Cardinals."

From Mark McGwire to manager Mike Matheny, St. Louis Cardinals senior officials were on hand to lend a hand to the people of Joplin.

"To me one of the main criteria for a successful life is how do you share and give to other people," said Matheny.

Even Springfield Cardinals General Manager Matt Gifford pitched in--getting a little scuffed up in the process.

"When there are real troubles and you can get your hands dirty, or knees dirty in my case, it's something that you can really feel. We're going to be sore tomorrow, but that's okay," Gifford said.

"We talk about not just community service but service in general," said Matheny, "getting outside yourself and thinking about other people."

"You see them on TV and they all play well together as a team," said Brumley, "but they are actually working as a team to help me."

It's a different kind of team effort--trading in bats for hammers all for families like the Brumleys who will now have a place to call home.

"It feels amazing to just know we have solid ground to stand on," Brumley said.

"I came from a blue collar background - going out and doing things, helping people," Matheny said, "and to me this is a day well spent."

The effort was part of the Governor's Joplin Habitat Challenge. The challenge is bringing together major sports organizations-- Missouri Tigers, St. Louis Rams, St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, Kansas City Chiefs, St. Louis Blues, and the Kansas Speedway -- to build 35 new homes in the heart of Joplin by the end of 2012.

Not only are the St. Louis Cardinals donating their time, they are also donating money. The organization pitched in $200,000 to four local charities in Joplin.