James Volpe Foundation Holds Annual Summer Event [AUDIO]
The James Volpe Foundation is continuing their work, raising money and helping the community throughout Jackson and Ocean County.
Tell us what's so great about the Garden State by completing the form at the end of this story
The charity is named for James Volpe, a Jackson Memorial High School Senior and baseball player, who's life was tragically cut short as the passenger in a 2011 automobile accident.
Shortly after, a group of family and friends launched the foundation. They initially started the campaign by donating baseball scoreboards in Jackson, but they continue to grow and do more.
"We evolved the foundation into a community outreach type of program, where we try to give back to the community," said Co-Chairperson Rob Meleo.
A main initiative is the donation of scholarships, which has risen to five this year. Some other efforts include starting a S.A.D.D program in Jackson, helping several food banks, donating holiday gifts, and aiding victims of Sandy.
The foundation has offered an opportunity for the Volpe family to honor James, while also helping the community.
"The outreach from the people within the community has been tremendous, and it's been kind of one of the things that the Volpe family really found some solace in," Meleo said.
Their 3rd Annual Wiffle Ball Tournament and Family Day takes place on Saturday, August 3rd at the Holbrook Little League Complex in Jackson. The tournament starts at 10 a.m., while the rest of the event kicks off at noon. The cost to enter a three-person wiffle ball team is $60.00, which includes t-shirts and entry into the Family Day event. Entry into Family Day is $10.00 for anybody 13 and up, $5.00 for children 12 and under.
"The Wiffle Ball Event is very special because James was so into wiffle ball," Meleo said.
"We wanted to make it kind of a community block party, where people can just come with their families and spend the day."
The annual event is one of the foundation's biggest yearly fundraisers, along with their golf outing. Meleo estimates they usually draw around 500 people, and no let up is expected this year.
Overall, they have raised $35,000 since they launched in 2011. Most importantly, though, it's allowed the chance for the family to constantly remember and honor James Volpe.
"They're keeping his name alive in a good way, in a positive way," Meleo explained. "And through this foundation, they're able to continue to parent James and growing the foundation."
More Good News
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross has issued an emergency request for platelet and blood donors of all blood types. Blood donations were down about 10 percent in June, resulting in about 50,000 fewer donations.
"Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. Each day donations come up short, less blood is available for these patients in need," said Brigid O'Neill LaGier, Chief Executive Officer for the Red Cross Penn-Jersey Blood Services Region. To find out how to donate blood, visit their website.
Middlesex County Food Outreach and Distribution Services and Plays-in-the-Park
Middlesex County Food Outreach and Distribution Services has partnered with Plays-in-the-Park, a county sponsored event that features various theatrical performances in Edison's Roosevelt Park, to collect needed items for local food pantries.
Drop-off boxes will be available at all performances through August 17. Items most in need include cereal, tuna, fish, rice, canned vegetables, peanut butter, snacks and personal items like shampoo, diapers and wipes. To learn more, visit their website.