Calling All Angels: Your Help Is Needed At Fundraiser For RWJ-Barnabas Health Toms River, NJ Field of Dreams
It is towards the end of the movie 'Angels in the Outfield' that pitcher Mel Clark (played by Tony Danza) has pitched his heart out, has a high pitch count, had a gutsy performance and one out away from finishing the game and helping the Angels win the divisional championship.
When manager George Knox (played by Danny Glover) goes to give him a pep talk, the kid Roger (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) steps out of the dugout and waves his arms in a motion like an Angel, and, soon after the Angels dugout follows, and then, all the fans in the stadium showing a universal support for Mel Clark and being a visible symbol for the real Angels on earth.
Christian Kane of Toms River has pitched his heart out, putting in hours and hours of time, resources, and so much more in turning a dream into a reality with the RWJ-Barnabas Health Toms River Field of Dreams.
It's a place where Christian and Mary Kane's son soon to be 12-year old son Gavin can go play with and like all the other kids, but also a place where kids of all ages can go play baseball or run around and move in timeless space where their special needs are not judged, but their hearts and smiles lighten up the earth.
The work was done, the complex along North Bay Avenue next to the Toms River Police Department opened earlier this year and people and families are there in great numbers everyday.
Despite the conclusion of physical work, there is still a bases loaded jam to get out of in paying off what's become significant debt that needs to be paid to finish the $3.5-million project, plus funds need to be raised for upkeep.
There is a big comedy night fundraiser event coming up this month for the RWJ-Barnabas Health Toms River Field of Dreams, and, Christian Kane joined us on 'Shore Time with Vin and Dave' on 94.3 The Point and 105.7 The Hawk on Sunday morning to discuss it but more-so, to ask for your help and support.
This Field of Dreams is such an important part of our community.
"You needed to have a place where people could go, not be stared at, to be able to interact with others, and really re-define the word inclusion, which is, what I think we have accomplished," Kane tells Townsquare Media.
There was a $400,000 grant that came out of the state budget in 2021 which helped mitigate a portion of the overall cost to build this complex, but the pandemic which, in part, led to significant economic issues including inflation left Kane on the mound in a bases loaded jam in the 8th inning trying to figure out what to do next.
"Besides the $400,000 everything else has been just from the community, be either buying a home plate or a paver or a 4x4 sign that are all on the outfield fence of the baseball field. We do a lot of fundraising events and I'm like the number one grant writer and you're just scrapping. Right now, we have 1,600 registered families who visit the complex, we have 34 school districts that have used the complex, and we have 20 organizations that deal with people over the age of 21 who have used the complex -- and the fee for every single one of those entities has been $0.00, and the reason why is we understand the life, we understand the cost," Kane said. "We're trying to make sure there isn't a cost, but, in reality, obviously the pandemic hit and we were in the middle of construction and I was running out of money -- three construction companies, local guys -- I talked to those three guys and said listen, I'm running out of money, I won't have enough, should we stop? And all three looked at me and said no, we're going to pursue this, we're going to keep on rolling, and basically, in essence, they've given me a line of credit and that amount that I still owe is $237,000 and you're pecking away at it the best you can through fundraising events and through, hopefully, successful grant writing and then also getting major companies or individuals who are able to give tax deductible donations to the complex."
And, again, the $237,000 is just to finish paying off what it cost to build the complex, as more will be needed for continued maintenance.
"Our budget, yearly, will probably be somewhere between $85,000-$95,000 and that's, once again, to maintain the calendar of events, you'll host about 75 different events throughout the year, it'll keep memberships down to $0, and, obviously, the upkeep," Kane said.
This is where your help is needed.
Field of Dreams Comedy Night at the RWJ-Barnabas Health Arena in Toms River is taking place on Saturday October 22 from 8-10 pm that will include performances by Aaron Berg, Vlad Caamano, Jeff Norris, Mike Yard, NJ-101.5's Bill Spadea, and more including Todd Frazier, with the night being hosted by WFAN's Craig Carton and Evan Roberts.
"We're concerned, Mary and I are always concerned about doing events that are affordable for the community, and, we priced out tickets starting at $25.00 and then going in increments of $25.00 -- and those tickets get you into the auditorium at high school north to see great acts," Kane said. "These guys come from Gotham Comedy Club in New York City -- even Jeff Norris is from Brick Township, so, a local guy. You're going to get a great show and you're obviously going to get to meet Craig Carton and Evan Roberts on stage and Bill Spadea -- so, really, from 8-10, you're going to get a great show. Prior to that, the doors open up at 6:00 pm and you enter the arena, you can get something to drink, water, pretzel, popcorn, etc., but, if you want to enter into the beer garden and wine area, that's sponsored by McIntyre's Pub of Toms River -- they're going to set up stands so that you can purchase beer and wine. There will be a silent auction, and then, lastly, with this one special type of ticket -- it's $250.00 -- it's a VIP ticket and what that mean is you get the premier seat in the auditorium, but, on top of that from 6-7:30 it's all you can eat, all you can drink, and then you also get to meet and hang out with Craig Carton, Evan Roberts, Bill Spadea, all the comedians, Todd Frazier -- he promised me also Frankie Edgar -- and a couple of the other local celebrities from the Ocean and Monmouth County area."
Only 100 VIP tickets are being sold for this event.
Even if you're unable to attend, if your means allow, please consider donating to this cause.
You can listen to the full interview conversation with Christian Kane on 'Shore Time with Vin and Dave' on 94.3 The Point and 105.7 The Hawk, right here.
Will you join the choir of Angels showing support for the Kane family and the RWJ-Barnabas Health Toms River Field of Dreams?
As you prayerfully consider, please take a look at what this RWJ-Barnabas Health Toms River Field of Dreams means to so many people.
RWJ-Barnabas Health Toms River Field of Dreams 2022
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