SOMERS POINT — Wyatt Hopkins was not quite 5 years old when he died in 2017, just a week shy of his birthday, but he made a big impression in his hometown.
“He was a giver and he loved to see people happy,” said Wyatt’s dad, Rob Hopkins. The garden at the New York Avenue School is dedicated to Wyatt, and each year the family has added something for the students to enjoy. This year it is an arbor and a life size tick-tack-toe board. Earlier in the fall, Rob and Desiree Hopkins also put together the inaugural Wyatt Strong softball game.
The Hopkins raised some funds and with donations, rented Fehrle Field and hosted the game, with 30 players heading to the field and at least that many cheering from the stands. The day was a complete success, according to Hopkins. Funds raised at the game are going toward a memorial bench in Wyatt’s name. Each ticket sold included a Wyatt Strong uniform shirt, stickers, bracelet and food. The game went into the tenth inning. After the costs of putting the game together, the family was able to raise the full $1,100 for the bench. A raffle at the end of the game for a custom Wyatt Strong hat raised another $175. That money went directly to St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis. They raised enough money for Wyatt’s bench, and it is on order and will find a home in Kennedy Park, tucked away in a spot where Wyatt and his mom, Desiree, would look out over the bay.
Bringing a smile to children who may be sick or suffering in other ways at the holidays is important to the Hopkins. The Wyatt Strong Foundation is holding the third annual toy drive in Wyatt’s name. It kicked the drive off this past weekend on what would have been 8th birthday. Friends dropped off unwrapped toys to give Wyatt’s Toy Drive a head start. The toys will be going to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and to CASA in Somers Point for children in foster care.
The Wyatt Strong Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit and anyone wanting to volunteer, or get more information, see OldSoulWyatt.org, check out the Wyatt Strong Foundation on Facebook, or email WyattStrong@yahoo.com.
The Atlantic County Utilities Authority dropped off 25 large blue bins to be used for the toy drive. Those donating should bring an unwrapped toy and drop it in one of the bins located inside community partners:
• Somers Point Police Department, 1 W. New Jersey Ave., Somers Point
• Somers Point Schools — New York Avenue, Dawes and Jordan Road, Somers Point
• Goji Juice Bar, 520 New Road, Somers Point
• Shore True Value, 515 New Road, Somers Point
• Clancy’s By The Bay, 101 E. Maryland Ave., Somers Point
• Flyers Skate Zone, 501 N. Albany Ave., Atlantic City
• Garden State Academy, 600 E. Moss Mill Road, Galloway Township
• Antique Market Place, 109 12th St., Hammonton
• The Hair Lounge at Studio 21 Beauty Bar, 23 Central Ave., Hammonton
• Families Matter, 899 Bayshore Road, Villas
• Pork Island Grill, 3401 Asbury Ave. Ocean City
• The Golden Nugget Tavern, 433 New Freedom Road, Berlin
• Power athletics, 189 White Horse Pike, Atco
• Tara Lee’s Salon, 360 White Horse Pike, Atco
• Lafferty Family Chiropractor, 403 Commerce Lane Unit 1, West Berlin
• Libman Wellness Center, 100 W. Old Marlton Pike, Marlton
• Schaeffer Family Homes, 42 Berlin Road, Cherry Hill
• Mid Atlantic Athletic Center, 228 Harmony Road, Mickleton
• Penn Medicine, 1865 Marlton Pike East, Cherry Hill, and 3737 Market St., Philadelphia