Massive wildfires and mass shootings have recently affected the lives of countless California residents. In response to these tragic incidents, Milwaukee Brewers players Christian Yelich, Ryan Braun and Mike Moustakas established the "California Strong" campaign last month to assist victims by raising funds for recovery efforts throughout Northern and Southern California.
Campaign partners include the Southeast Ventura County YMCA and the Brewers Community Foundation. Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff and the family of Brewers owner Mark Attanasio have also gotten behind the campaign. In addition, Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout and Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner have expressed interest in getting involved.
Over 13,000 homes and over 100 lives were lost in the tragic events, with 600 people still unaccounted for in the Northern California wildfires. Yelich, Braun and Moustakas vowed to support affected communities after seeing the extent of the devastation. Southern California, the site of the Woolsey fire, is home to all three players, with Braun losing part of his Malibu residence in the blaze.
The goal of the California Strong campaign is to provide ongoing resources to help rebuild lives and homes following the tragedies. With a campaign goal of raising $500,000, the foundation has already received more than $420,000 in donations, which includes proceeds from merchandise and online auction items such as courtside Lakers tickets and a doubles tennis match with celebrities Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson.
In November, Yelich wore a Los Angeles Fire Department baseball cap during his 2018 National League MVP Award ceremony to show his appreciation for firefighters' efforts to respond to the devastating wildfires in his hometown of Thousand Oaks. To bring awareness to the California Strong fundraising campaign, Braun and Goff have been wearing California Strong t-shirts publicly, which are available for purchase on the campaign website, in addition to hoodies, tanks and mugs.
Campaign organizers plan to host a celebrity softball game at Pepperdine University in Malibu on January 13 and are encouraging other athletes and celebrities to participate. Ticket proceeds will benefit the campaign’s disaster relief efforts.
Due to the campaign’s partnership with the YMCA, donations are 100 percent tax deductible and go directly to those in need. You can support the campaign by visiting the California Strong website here.