Gopal Pledges to Match Funds for City Beach Badges

Sen. Vin Gopal has pledged to match up to $2,000 in donations to the Beach Badge Community Fund of Asbury Park from June 6 through June 12, with a goal of helping every resident of the city access local beaches regardless of their income.

The Beach Badge Community Fund, which was created in 2018 by Asbury Park resident Lisa Cramp, is a fundraising program whose funds will be used to purchase seasonal beach badges for low-income Asbury Park families. The badges will be distributed by Trinity Church and The Boys and Girls Club of Monmouth County. Residents can donate through GoFundMe at www.gofundme.com/asbury-park-beach-community-fund, and are encouraged to share the fundraiser on Facebook.

“Our beaches are the lifeblood of Jersey Shore communities like Asbury,” Gopal said “In Asbury Park, though, more than 30 percent of residents live below the poverty level, which can strain parents’ abilities to take their kids to the beach. If out-of-state tourists can enjoy the pristine beauty of our beaches, I believe that our impoverished residents deserve that same daytime access as well.”

The fund has so far raised nearly $3,000 for this year’s program, but that still leaves a long road ahead to its 2019 goal of $15,000. Seasonal adult beach passes cost a full $70, with each additional teenager’s pass costing another $20. That’s why local small businesses and public officials like Senator Gopal are pitching in to help reach that milestone by Memorial Day.

“When you’re struggling to put food on the table, it can be hard to come up with the money for a beach pass – even if you have kids who would love nothing more than to swim and build sandcastles on the beach down the street,” Cramp said. “Even when the beaches close for the night, no lifeguards are on duty, which means that these local kids still can’t swim safely.

“Last year, we raised an astounding $10,000 to help these families enjoy the beach together – for some kids, for the first time in their lives. This year, I’m hoping to make our Beach Badge Community Fund bigger and better. But to do that, we’ll need all of the help we can get.”

Gopal agrees.

“Last year, I was blown away by the generosity of our community and by the willingness of people around the country to help these families share a day at the beach,” he said. That’s one of the simplest, most beautiful joys of living on the Shore. If we can help even one more child enjoy that gift, it will all be worth it.”

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