Annual Wiffle ball fundraiser is a remembrance — and a reunion
JACKSON — If the main components of the James Volpe Foundation's annual Wiffle Ball Tournament haven't really changed as the event nears its eighth year, the tourney has taken on a second meaning for participants, not only remembering the foundation's namesake but also providing a yearly reunion for families and friends that have scattered from the Ocean County area.
"It's a combination of honoring James but also playing our part in the community and trying to bring everybody together for a good cause," said John Mucia Jr., one of the foundation's key members. Mucia was good friends with Volpe, who died in a 2011 car accident while a senior at Jackson Memorial High School.
Because the Wiffle Ball Tournament was launched largely by Volpe's friends, who were 17 and 18 years old at the time, it has gotten more special for them as time has passed, but the fundraiser — which goes toward scholarships awarded at Jackson's two high schools and at Kean University, where Volpe would have attended — has also benefited from others who keep coming back year after year.
That includes those who've heard about what is still a very localized day of fun, held once again this year at Holbrook Little League in Jackson, and who make the trip from far away for the cause.
"We've made a pretty good impact in the state of New Jersey now," Mucia said. "I think that we're a foundation that's widely recognized for doing great things in the community, and that's something that we're obviously very proud of."
The 2018 edition of the Wiffle Ball Tournament is Saturday, Aug. 4, with a rain date of the following day. It will feature up to 50 teams made up of three to four players. The entry fee is $20 per person, which takes care of game equipment, a T-shirt and food at the Family Day, which follows the 10 a.m. game time.
The James Volpe Foundation does other community outreach during the year in addition to the scholarships it awards, such as providing financially for children who want to play sports but otherwise can't afford to, or whose families need to pay for major medical expenses.