LOIZA, PUERTO RICO — RWJBarnabas Health and the Lakewood BlueClaws minor league baseball team recently brought baseball back to young athletes in Puerto Rico by hosting an equipment drive at First Energy Park after collecting dozens of baseball bats, balls, gloves, helmets, hats and clothing.

Over a span of several weeks, the equipment was brought to the small town of Loiza, a Puerto Rican community that was devastated by Hurricane Maria, and distributed to young athletes who had been playing with “imaginary balls” during a recent visit from the RWJBarnabas Health Global Health team.

Global Health is one of the primary areas of focus of the RWJBarnabas Health Social Impact and Community Investment Practice, which is aimed at addressing the social, economic and environmental conditions that contribute to poor health outcomes, reduced life expectancy and higher costs. The Office of Global Health directs the system’s medical global affairs initiatives, which includes international disaster response.

Through its corporate sponsorship of the baseball team, RWJBarnabas Health and the Lakewood BlueClaws routinely partner together on various initiatives to improve the health and well-being of communities throughout New Jersey and beyond.