Pitching In To Help The Community

I’ve never been much of a softball player—but, despite 98-degree weather, I was happy to pitch in this past Saturday to help feed more than more than 1,100 softball players and volunteers at the 20th annual Somerville Elks and Jack Gardner memorial softball tournament.

Every summer, my family and I volunteer at the fundraiser’s reception, this year hosted by the Somerville Elks Lodge #1068. That means setting up tables, chairs, food, and most importantly cases of water for the thirsty participants.

According to Pierce Frauenheim Jr., an Elk and life-long volunteer in the community, 47 teams (39 men’s and 8 women’s), participated this year to raise more than $85,000 for the Jack’s Kids, a local charity that aids families in the area with severely ill or disabled children. The donations help these families with medical bills, gas expenses, food, lodging, and other costs related to medical care. On Saturday, about 20 past beneficiaries and their families attended the event.

“It’s a wonderful event with lots of family, friends and great people,” said attendee Edgar Chaves Jr., of Bridgewater. Chaves and his family, of Britland Autobody in Green Brook, helped to sponsor the event by donating a restored car for one of this year’s recipients.

Along with helping cool off the hundreds of players, I was fortunate to meet Ken Daneyko (former NJ Devils player), who served as an honorary chairperson for the event.

Money from the fundraiser not only goes to these deserving families, but also helps fund the Somerset Treatment Center in Somerville, a treatment and counseling center offering affordable outpatient services for substance abuse and HIV-related illnesses.

Giving back to the community I was born and raised in always leaves me with a sense of accomplishment. Even if I never reach first base.

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