At IHN, we may sound like a broken record but we LOVE how our volunteers connect with our mission. Everyone has their own way.
Like the New York Jets.
Interfaith Hospitality Network of Essex County (IHN) hosted its annual Back-To-School Bash Sept. 11 for children in the shelter and housing programs. This time, however, they were joined by players from the NY Jets.
Muhammad Wilkerson, Bart Scott, Marcus Dixon, and Quinton Coples answered questions, played all sorts of games (even freeze dance!), autographed oodles of shirts and cards, and posed for picture after picture — all with nonstop smiles and inspiring words. Volunteers from the Far Brook School assisted with food, games, and logistics.
Take Lisa Duggan.
A local blogger who writes about local and national issues that impact families (www.TheMotherhoodBlog.com), Duggan had heard about IHN through IHN Volunteer Manager, Kanani Briggs. Given that we’re all about helping families, the IHN cause resonated. So when Duggan entered the Clorox Blog-Off she pledged that if she won, she’d contribute her prize to IHN.
Putting her enormous network on task to click on a Clorox commercial, Duggan walked home with second prize: a year’s worth of Clorox products, which she has generously donated to IHN families.
Then there’s Kimberly Minor.
Hearing that one of our teenagers wanted to attend her senior prom but had no dress, Minor decided to step in. Given that her day job is in fashion, Minor was just the right gal to outfit "Jasmine" in a fabulous gown, handmade necklace, and evening bag for a night of glamour and memories that she’ll hold for the rest of her life.
And sometimes, our friends give to IHN without knowing exactly what the end result will be.
That’s where Bonnie Park and Lori and Terry Martin come in.
They received our email for back-to-school supplies and decided to raise money at their respective offices for our cause.
Lori and Terry Martin decided to turn their donations into a Staples gift card. Park, on the other hand, was planning to buy school supplies at a big box store. However, the retailer was imposing a ten-piece limit on each item and wouldn’t bend the rules, even for a charitable act. Taking her business elsewhere, Bonnie decided to also turn her donation into a Staples gift card.
The combined result? Enough money to pay for a new laptop for "Javon," son of a former guest and an incoming college freshman.
When we shared this news with Bonnie, she commented, ”I was so touched to read this story. It’s always amazing to me how things just seem to work out for the best even when we don't realize it.”