This was supposed to be the 12th season of Home Runs for Heroes, a partnership between the OceanFirst Foundation, Lakewood BlueClaws and Townsquare Media’s 92.7 WOBM and Beach Radio 1160/1310.

The annual baseball-themed program awards grants to charities from central and southern New Jersey that serve members of the military and Veterans.

The way it has worked in the past is the participating organizations are matched with a specific inning and each time a BlueClaws player hits a home run at FirstEnergy Park in that inning they would receive $1,000 from the OceanFirst Foundation.  In 2019 that resulted in $38,000 in donations to Veterans and local members of the U.S Armed Forces.

It is simply a tremendous program made possible by the generosity of the foundation and minor league baseball franchise and we have been honored to be a part of it.

Of course the BlueClaws season, like all of the teams in minor league baseball has been cancelled and you would have assumed that would mean the 2020 Home Run for Heroes program would be as well.  You would be right...and wrong.

The OceanFirst Foundation recently announced that each of the 16 organizations that were already selected for this season will receive a $2,000 Good Neighbor grant so they can continue to serve current and past members of the military and their families.  The benefiting groups are:

  • American Red Cross
  • Army Emergency Relief
  • Cape May Coast Guard Community Foundation
  • Catholic Charities
  • Deborah Hospital Foundation’s HERO Care Connect Program
  • GI Go Fund, Homes for All/Hands for All
  • Jewish Federation of Southern NJ
  • Lt. Dennis W. Zilinski II Memorial Fund
  • Ma Deuce Deuce
  • National Guard State Family Readiness Council
  • Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
  • Operation First Response
  • Recalibrate
  • VFW Post 8867
  • Vetgroup.

The $32,000 that will be handed out brings the total contributions in the Home Runs for Heroes program to $408,000 and here’s hoping we are back at the ballpark in 2021 to continue assisting organizations that assist those in the military.