California Strong will be presenting checks to families affected by the Woolsey Fire, Camp Fire and Thousand Oaks shooting

By Nicole Sands
January 10, 2019 03:10 PM
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Christian Yelich is hoping to hit a home run for those impacted by the recent shooting and fire in his hometown.

On Sunday, the MLB’s 2018 National League MVP will take the field alongside his Milwaukee Brewers teammates Ryan Braun and Mike Moustakas, and Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff to host the California Strong celebrity softball game to raise money for those affected by the Borderline Shooting in Thousand Oaks, and fires across the state.

“We all grew up in these areas, and we saw how much people were struggling and how much help people needed,” Yelich tells PEOPLE about why he got a “group text” going with his teammates and friends to think of ways to help out.

He adds, “We didn’t know how California Strong would develop to what it is today, but we just wanted to help out and get people back on their feet from losing everything in their lives.”

Milwaukee Brewers’ Christian Yelich, Mike Moustakas and Ryan Braun
| Credit: California Strong/Instagram

“It’s been great to see support from the community and people really rallying around each other to help out those who need it,” Yelich tells PEOPLE.

On the evening of Nov. 7, a Marine Corps veteran entered Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, and opened fire on a crowd enjoying themselves during “College Country Night,” killing 12 and wounding a dozen more.

“I woke up to the news of the shooting,” Yelich says. “I used to go to [Borderline] all the time, so it hits home a little more when it’s right there in your hometown down the street from where you live, where you grew up.”

No more than 24 hours later, a deadly wildfire roared through the same zip code. Named one of the most destructive wildfires in the state’s history, the Woolsey fire burned 96,949 acres, destroyed 1,500 structures and killed three.

Hours away in Northern California, the Camp Fire broke out that same day, burning 153,336 acres, destroying 18,804 structures and killing 81 people.

“Through the YMCA we have been able to identify families that need the help and make sure 100 percent of the money donated is going towards the right cause,” Yelich says about partnering with the Southeast Ventura County YMCA. “It’s our way of ensuring to the people who donated that their money is actually going to what they were donating to.”

RELATED: Camille Grammer Shares Photos of Her Burned-Down Malibu Mansion After Woolsey Fires

Aside from cheering on the celebrities and all-star sports players during the star-studded softball game, the event will feature a surprise musical guest, food trucks, an interactive kids zone, special VIP offerings (with the purchase of a VIP admission ticket), and a flyover presentation with four World War II planes.

General admission tickets are on sale now for $25.