It is evident that New Hanover County, Brunswick County, and Pender County are still feeling the effects of Hurricane Florence. The Wilmington Sharks are continuing recovery efforts by teaming up with local charities, in order to get assistance to those still in need. For the Opening Weekend of the 2019 summer season, the Sharks will play as the 'Cape Fearless Sharks' and will donate a portion of their Opening Weekend revenue to local charities. The Sharks kick off their season on Thursday, May 30th followed by a postgame fireworks celebration on Friday, May 31st.
"We want to dedicate the Opening weekend of our season to the people in the Cape Fear region. We want to salute the fearless individuals during that time, and bring attention to the fact that some of our neighbors still need a hand," says Wilmington Sharks General Manager, Carson Bowen. "The fortitude and resilience that our people showed throughout the storm was incredible. Neighbors weren't hesitating to drop everything to help their neighbors. We want to keep this sense of camaraderie going."
The Sharks are partnering with Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry Inc. (WARM), in an effort to bring recovery to the community. A portion of the revenue generated on Opening Weekend will be donated to WARM in an effort to provide aid to the Cape Fear Region. WARM's mission is to ensure safety in peoples home by bringing in volunteers to complete urgent repairs, accessibility upgrades and hurricane relief to low-income homeowners across Brunswick, Pender, and New Hanover counties. "Since Hurricane Fran in 1996, WARM has completed over 1,200 owner-occupied home rebuilds for those who can't afford it" says WARM Executive Director, JC Lyle. "With the support of local businesses like the Wilmington Sharks, we will continue until everyone in our region is safe at home".
In addition to WARM, the Sharks will also be teaming up with NourishNC to assist with their ongoing support of hungry children in the region. NourishNC is a nonprofit whose mission is to "Provide healthy food to hungry children, empowering them to succeed in the classroom and in their community. Our goal is to enhance children's health and well-being by preventing the devastating consequences of child hunger", says NourishNC Program Director Katelyn Mattox. "We are committed to providing our community's most vulnerable children with nutritious food because 1 in 4 children in New Hanover County struggle with hunger".
Through 'Operation Peanut Butter', the Sharks aim to collect 2,000 jars of peanut butter to replenish the supplies NourishNC lost in the storm. "Peanut butter was identified as one of the most helpful items, so we want to get our friends a whole truckload of peanut butter. Our goal is to collect 2,000 jars on Opening Weekend," adds Bowen. "Are we crazy? Yes. But we know we can accomplish our goal, because our fans are just as crazy about this area as we are."
"The Wilmington Sharks' efforts to raise awareness and collect 2,000 jars of peanut butter will help restock our shelves and continue to nourish the bodies, minds, and souls of New Hanover County's most vulnerable kids", adds Mattox.
In addition to donating a portion of revenue made from Opening Weekend, the Sharks will be auctioning off special "Cape Fearless" jerseys that will be worn during their Friday, May 31st game, with all of the proceeds going towards WARM. "People in this area are immensely proud of their roots and their ability to call this paradise home", says Bowen. "We wanted to come out with a uniform that our guys could wear to represent the area at large. These hint at where we've been and where we want to go as a community."
More information regarding the 'Cape Fearless' jerseys, as well as 'Operation Peanut Butter' will be released in the upcoming weeks. To find out more information about the Sharks and their opening weekend, please visit Wilmingtonsharks.com.
About The Wilmington Sharks
Set in the picturesque Cape Fear region of North Carolina, the Wilmington Sharks are one of the charter members of the Coastal Plain League. Providing affordable family entertainment in a minor league atmosphere, the Sharks have been consistently in the top 25 in attendance in all of summer-collegiate baseball.
About The Coastal Plain League
The Coastal Plain League is the nation's premier summer collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its 23nd season in 2019, the CPL features 16 teams playing in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The CPL has had over 1,450 alumni drafted and 109 of those - including 2017 ALCS MVP, 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander as well as 2017 NLCS MVP Chris Taylor – make their Major League debut. While another notable alum – Russell Wilson – won Super Bowl XLVIII. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at www.coastalplain.com and follow us via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat @CPLBaseball.