Nearly a year after Jon Bon Jovi and non-profit partners announced plans to address hunger in Ocean County, a CrowdRise fundraising campaign has been launched ahead of the May Grand Opening of the B.E.A.T. Center in Toms River.

B.E.A.T. Center, Toms River (Tom Mongelli, Townsquare Media)
B.E.A.T. Center, Toms River (Tom Mongelli, Townsquare Media)

THE BEAT CENTER OCEANFIRST MATCH CAMPAIGN - Bringing Everyone All Together to Fight Hunger is to raise money for operations according to Lori Sayde, Marketing and Media Coordinator with the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

The B.E.A.T. Center is located on Hooper Avenue, in the Silverton section of Toms River, and will serve as a FoodBank satellite location, a permanent home of Peoples Pantry and a second location for Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation's JBJ Soul Kitchen.

"It's really a hub where people can come to get help with food and other resources to end the cyclical causes of hunger," said Sayde.

Ocean County is New Jersey's fastest growing county and was "ground zero" for Hurricane Sandy, noted Sayde.

"There's about 40,000 structures in the county that were damaged or destroyed in the storm, and that's 55 percent of the state's total. So, the creation of the B.E.A.T. Center was really a response to the reality that more than three years after the storm, there's thousands of families that are still struggling to regain their housing and their financial stability, and to also overcome food insecurity that's happened as a result of the storm. So, they're turning to local agencies in record numbers for assistance, and we're hoping that this collaboration and this innovative project, putting all of these resources in one place, will provide about $5 million in support to the families in need, and that's in our first year of business," Sayde said.

There is no firm date for the Grand Opening yet, but Sayde said it would be in mid-May. Between now and then, individuals and businesses in the community are encouraged to donate to The B.E.A.T. Center's CrowdRise campaign. The OceanFirst Foundation will match donations up to $100,000, and Sayde said they're offering incentives for donors.

"To encourage teams of fundraisers, we have are top prize, the person who fundraises the most money, whether it's the leader of a team or an individual, will be invited to the Grand Opening of The B.E.A.T. Center, and they'll also have a personal VIP reception with Jon Bon Jovi," said Sayde. She added, "Anyone who donates at least $100 dollars will have their name in a logo that will appear in The B.E.A.T. Center. It will also be sent to them digitally."

The CrowdRise Campaign runs to April 26, 2016 for the Grand Prize, and will continue with incentives through the Grand Opening of the facility in May.  For those who don’t reach the top goals, there are still plenty of local and global gift incentives throughout the campaign, according to Sayde.

To join the campaign, and start fundraising, visit:  URL.

WATCH: Jon Bon Jovi at the B.E.A.T. Center

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