Jonny Gomes: Former MLB star raising money for California wildfire relief

By Alex Butler  |  Oct. 12, 2017 at 6:00 AM
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Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Jonny Gomes is aiming to raise $1 million to assist relief efforts for the wildfires in California.

Gomes, who played his last Major League Baseball season in 2015 with the Kansas City Royals and Atlanta Braves, created the campaign on Wednesday.

The Jonny Gomes 707 Relief Fund had more than $13,000 in contributions as of Wednesday night from 122 people on GoFundMe.

The Northern California wildfires have killed at least 17 people and destroyed at least 2,000 structures. Gomes, 36, was born in Petaluma, Calif. and attended Casa Grande High School. He also went to Santa Rosa Junior College.

"I'm Major League Baseball Champion, Jonny Gomes," Gomes wrote as the page description. "I've played professional baseball around the globe but the 707 area code of Northern California is my home. My friends are there. My family is there. I grew up playing ball in the fields and streets of Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Sonoma, Napa and beyond. That's why you see "707" proudly displayed on my cleats. These people are my neighbors!"

"Now I need you to help me give back to the thousands affected by this horrific catastrophe. Kids are without homes and schools. People have nothing but the clothes on their back. My hometown is a wasteland of ash and rubble. You and I are going to change that!"

"The residents of these affected communities don't need a home run from us - they need a GRAND SLAM! Give now and I will work with the people and organizations in the area to ensure that we are bringing home a win. When I identify a need I will allocate your donation swiftly, ethically and honestly. Let's do this!"

The campaign has donations from other former and current baseball players, including $1,000 gifts from Eric Byrnes, David Ross, Pat Burrell and Kevin Youkilis.

Gomes is also sending his M35 military truck to his hometown to help clear roadways and move vehicles in the area, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

"Everyone: kids need diapers, dads need clothes, moms need clothes, families need cars. They need us," Gomes said in a video on the GoFundMe page. "They need me. Let's kick this off right now. Spread this video to everyone who has a heavy heart. Please help out. I'll do what I can, have boots on the ground and kick this thing's butt. Put some smiles on some people's faces. Please help out. Need you."

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