Winter/Spring 2021 Newsletter
RESPOND. RECOVER. REBUILD. REIMAGINE.
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In March 2020, businesses and schools began to shut down and our residents quarantined for what was expected to be a two-week period in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19. When the two weeks passed and the situation had only worsened, United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties (UWMOC) recognized the challenges that our community would be facing in the months to come. Prior to the pandemic, 34% of families in Monmouth and Ocean counties were already struggling to make ends meet, and the widespread loss of employment further intensified the demand for help with basic needs.
UWMOC’S COVID-19 RECOVERY FUND
In anticipation of these hardships, UWMOC quickly organized a COVID-19 Recovery Fund to address the unmet needs of people and organizations economically impacted by this crisis. Thanks to generous donations from individuals, corporations and virtual fundraisers, United Way distributed over $70,000 to our partner organizations to aid in our community’s recovery. The first $20,000 in donations to the UWMOC COVID-19 Recovery Fund were graciously matched dollar for dollar by Grunin Foundation and New Jersey Natural Gas.
A competitive mini-grant process was opened to United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties’ partners, through which a total of 11 organizations were chosen to receive funds. The grants enabled some nonprofits to safely reopen, and also helped 512 households financially impacted by COVID-19 with their basic needs. The recipients of these grants were: Affordable Housing Alliance, Mental Health Association of Monmouth County, Monmouth Day Care Center, NJ 2-1-1, O.C.E.A.N. Inc., Ocean County YMCA, Social Community Activities Network (SCAN), St. Francis Community Center, Toms River Regional School District, Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey, and YMCA of Greater Monmouth County.
Monmouth Day Care Center (MDCC) in Red Bank was one of the organizations awarded a grant for crucial items in order to reopen in compliance with New Jersey’s COVID-19 standards.
“A top priority at MDCC has always been the safety of our children, their families and our staff,” stated Heidi Zaentz, Executive Director of Monmouth Day Care Center. “During this pandemic it has become even more important, and UWMOC’s support made it possible for us to purchase much-needed supplies, including safety shields, PPE, disinfectants, and toys for individual children to use to avoid cross-contamination. We thank United Way for helping MDCC keep our families safe.”
Funding for the Toms River Regional School District provided critical extended-day educational services and interventions to Cedar Grove Elementary School students, particularly those experiencing a regression due to the limitations of an exclusively virtual learning environment implemented as a result of the COVID-19 virus.
“The impact of the pandemic has been unfair to all school-aged children, but none more than our vulnerable population of students,” said Cedar Grove Elementary Principal Stacey Monetti. “This grant allowed us to address these inequities by providing targeted academic support to our neediest children.”
UWMOC also supported the efforts of NJ 2-1-1, a health and human services hotline with critical resources for all residents of New Jersey, particularly those affected by COVID-19. The grant helped expand their staff and resources to handle the increased call volume, which more than doubled since the start of the pandemic. As of December 2020, NJ 2-1-1 had assisted over 27,000 residents of Monmouth and Ocean counties with immediate needs during this crisis.
DONATION DRIVES HELP MEET BASIC NEEDS
In addition to funds raised to support our community, UWMOC also coordinated a variety of donation drives to help ensure that basic needs were being met.
In April 2020, UWMOC connected supporters Manny and Julie Jimenez of Mat-Pac and their generous donation of much-needed paper products to various organizations in our community.
Over 7,000 rolls of toilet paper and more than 300 rolls of paper towels were distributed to the following local nonprofits to give to their clients: Christopher J. Morrissey Foundation, Fulfill, Interfaith Neighbors, Lunch Break, Meals on Wheels of Ocean County, Saint Gregory’s Pantry, and Sunnyside Foster Kids. UWMOC supporter Joe Devito of Bacchus Winemaking also donated warehouse space for the paper goods and employee assistance.
Many parents and caregivers in Monmouth and Ocean counties unfortunately lack a sufficient supply of diapers for their young children to remain clean, dry and healthy. Diapers cost an average of $80 a month for one baby, and they cannot be obtained with WIC, food stamps, or any other government program. With additional financial obstacles due to the pandemic, families are having to make even more difficult decisions about how their limited funds are spent.
In order to help fulfill this need, a Diaper Drive was hosted by UWMOC’s Women United leadership group in June 2020. Over 27,500 diapers were donated by local companies and individuals and were given to Child Care Resources of Monmouth County and The Children’s Home Society of New Jersey to distribute to families in need throughout Monmouth and Ocean counties.
Senior Comfort Bags
Social distancing guidelines have further isolated those who are more vulnerable to contracting the virus, such as our senior population. UWMOC launched the Senior Comfort Bag project in July 2020 in order to help ease the seclusion that many seniors in our community face.
New Jersey Natural Gas donated tote bags for the project, and residents of K. Hovnanian’s Four Seasons at Monmouth Woods packed them with snacks, toiletries, games, notes of encouragement and more. UWMOC Advisory Board Member Carol Stillwell of Stillwell-Hansen facilitated the donation of Girl Scout Cookies for the bags as well. SUEZ Water South Jersey also hosted a Senior Comfort Bag project with their employees, assembling over 100 bags for members in our community.
UWMOC partnered with the Meals on Wheels programs in Monmouth and Ocean counties for all comfort bags to be delivered directly to seniors in their homes.
UNITED IN GRATITUDE
Front-line workers have been the true heroes during these unprecedented times. UWMOC developed the United in Gratitude project for volunteers to create letters and artwork thanking our local health care workers, firefighters, mail carriers, delivery drivers, etc. for their hard work and perseverance.
New Jersey Natural Gas employees and other individuals thoughtfully wrote more than 45 letters which were given to our local heroes at health care facilities and fire stations to lift their spirits.
REBUILDING AND MOVING FORWARD UNITED
United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties is building a better future for our community, one where every person has an equal opportunity to thrive. Our goal is not to “return to normal” – we need to reimagine a new normal that equips our residents to weather inevitable future crises. United Way is unparalleled in our power to connect partners, providers and resources to address the needs of our community. Together, we will overcome this health and economic crisis. The tough work needed to help us recover is what United Way does every day. We prepare children for success in school, work and life. We connect those in financial distress with resources to pay bills and stay in their homes. We value the health of our community members and their access to adequate care.
Thank you to our volunteers, community partners, and all of our supporters for stepping up to help your neighbors in need. Now, more than ever, UWMOC needs your support to do what we do best in the aftermath of disasters -- help Monmouth and Ocean counties respond, recover, reimagine and rebuild. To move forward, we must Live United.
The Financial Success Center (FSC) Network is now offering FREE virtual services for residents of Monmouth and Ocean counties, especially those affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Trained staff work with participants to determine what benefits they are eligible for, work on a budget and directly connect them with community resources to meet their immediate needs and help start planning for their future. Please call 732-414-6745 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The FSC Network is a partnership of the following organizations: Affordable Housing Alliance, Child Care Resources of Monmouth County, Fulfill, Mental Health Association of Monmouth County (MHAMC), Monmouth County Workforce Development Board, Navicore Solutions, and UWMOC.
For a full list of services, locations and more information, visit uwfinancialsuccess.org.
Our Volunteer Portal is a free, mobile-friendly tool that makes it easy to connect volunteers to local organizations. If you would like to lend your time and talent to volunteer either virtually or safely at certain sites in-person, the Volunteer Portal has a variety of opportunities to suit your interests. Nonprofits across Monmouth and Ocean counties are able to post their needs, and interested individuals or groups can register to volunteer directly through the site.
For more information or to register, visit uwmoc.org/volunteer.
Thanks to the generosity of 91 local organizations and individuals, 2,669 children in Monmouth and Ocean counties received a new coat this winter on behalf of the 2020 Warmest Wishes Coat Drive. Over 3,700 winter outerwear and holiday items were also distributed to children in 33 schools throughout our region. As a partner in the Operation Warm Up Jersey Shore initiative, United Way helped to supply our community with a total of over 5,000 coats over the past year.
As more families are experiencing financial difficulty during the ongoing pandemic, the need for basic essentials such as coats is greater than ever.
“The Red Bank Borough schools are so thankful for our community partnership with United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties,” said Cathy Reardon, RN, CSN of Red Bank Primary School. “Their Warmest Wishes Coat Drive is an amazing program that provides new coats to our students in need. This year has been especially tough for a lot of our families, and a new coat will help alleviate some extra worry. The excitement on our students’ faces and the gratitude from their parents when they receive this gift is immeasurable.”
Special thanks to the TD Banks in Monmouth and Ocean counties for collecting a total of 416 coats, the most of any participating company or individual. We would also like to thank Advisory Board member Chris Lutick of UPS for donating the warehouse space for the drive and helping to make donation drop-offs and pick-ups run seamlessly.
The Warmest Wishes Coat Drive is sponsored by the FirstEnergy Foundation and New Jersey Resources.
In addition to hosting the Warmest Wishes Coat Drive, UWMOC was also a partner in “Operation Warm Up Jersey Shore” to provide coats to local youth. Thanks to the South Jersey Funder Collaborative, 3,200 children in Monmouth and Ocean counties are wearing new coats this winter.
The funders that worked together to bring this initiative to our community include: The Citta Foundation, Community Foundation of South Jersey, Grunin Foundation, OceanFirst Foundation, Pascale Sykes Foundation, United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, and the Wintrode Family Foundation & Causeway Family of Dealerships. Better Education for Kids, Inc. matched 100% of the funding and coats were provided by Operation Warm.
Over two days in November 2020, hundreds of families attended drive-through events at Fulfill in Neptune and the Church of Grace and Peace in Toms River. Both events were organized and carried out by the distribution partner, Fulfill, which also provided each household with a meal kit. UWMOC board members, community volunteers, and partner staff packed the meal kits and loaded them along with coats into participants’ vehicles on each event day.
As part of our ongoing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, UWMOC held a virtual MLK Day of Service Book Drive in January 2021 to increase access to books promoting a positive message for young readers.
In total, 130 new books championing people of all abilities, gender, race and ethnicities were purchased from our Amazon Wish List and shipped directly to United Way. Books were donated to local schools to be used in classroom libraries.
For more information about participating in an upcoming book drive or hosting your own, please contact Jackie Liguori, Director of Volunteer Engagement at email@example.com.
The 2020 Annual Tee-Off, rescheduled for October 26th from the original date in May, at Hollywood Golf Club in Deal exceeded our fundraising goals despite being canceled due to inclement weather. The event raised $112,000 to continue to support our programs in the areas of education, financial stability and heath – the building blocks for a good quality of life.
The fundraiser’s success was largely thanks to a shift to an online sales platform for the event’s silent auction items and multi-prize raffle tickets, which was open to the public and not just attendees. The golfers registered for the sold-out event won’t be missing out on their round – each foursome will receive a voucher to play at Hollywood Golf Club in 2021.
“It has been a very difficult year with a vast set of challenges, but we couldn’t be prouder of the result,” stated Brian Massey, co-chair of the Annual Tee-Off committee. “We could not have exceeded our goals without the hard work and dedication of the Annual Tee-Off committee and UWMOC staff.”
UWMOC thanks the event’s top sponsor Hackensack Meridian Health and all of the businesses and participants for their unwavering support.
UWMOC welcomed five new members to our Board of Directors and one new Advisory Board member for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. Each member is eligible to serve three two-year terms, and is tasked with helping to advance United Way’s important work in education, financial stability and health. We thank both our new and longstanding board members for their dedication to our mission and being champions for our cause.
Luke Bollerman directs all operations at Bollerman Real Estate Services, Inc., a privately owned and managed Real Estate Development firm located in Red Bank, NJ. He also acts as managing member of other privately held operating and investment companies. A graduate of La Salle University in Philadelphia, PA, Luke resides in Little Silver with his wife and two children, with a third child arriving in March 2021.
How did you get involved with UWMOC? Through our current Board Chairman Bob Rosone as a result of our shared duty of service and connection with United Way’s mission. After serving as Co-Chair on UWMOC’s Annual Tee-Off committee for two years, I made the commitment to join the board to continue to work alongside a group of dedicated leaders in service to the community.
Which of our impact areas are you most passionate about? All three of United Way’s impact areas are equally important; it’s hard to achieve financial security without good health and education, and having only one or two of the three won’t solve the puzzle.
How do you “Live United”? By embodying and carrying United Way’s mission with me in my everyday life.
Additional community involvement: Board member of Ekenywa, a nonprofit that is committed to the universal access to safe, clean, and affordable drinking water, primarily in rural Kenya.
What activities do you enjoy in your spare time? Traveling with my family, sportfishing and surfing.
Kelly Fliller is Director of Communications for the Grunin Foundation, an organization based in Toms River with a mission to improve the quality of life for all members of our community by using philanthropy to drive economic excellence at the Central Jersey Shore. A graduate of Georgian Court University, Kelly resides in Toms River, NJ with her husband, Ed, and dog, Starz.
How did you get involved with UWMOC? Prior to the merger that formed UWMOC, I served on the board of United Way of Ocean County. I continued to serve on committees for United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties after the merger, including the Resource Development, Youth Career Pathways and Marketing Committees. I also Co-Chaired the Women United leadership group and Gala Committee. I am honored to once again be chosen for a board position with UWMOC after nearly 10 years of involvement with United Way.
Which of our impact areas are you most passionate about? I have always been the most passionate about health since without it, you have nothing else; but I believe all three are crucial together as without one, you can’t have the others.
What does “Living United” mean to you? Coming together to make life better for everyone.
Additional community involvement: Serves on the boards of Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey (CVCJ); Military Support Alliance of NJ; NJ Arts and Culture Recovery Fund Communications Committee (NJACRF); Ocean County Cultural and Heritage Commission; Professional Women in Building Council of the Garden State (PWB); and Shore Builders Association of Central NJ (SBACNJ). Kelly is also an Honorary Commander Emeritus with the Air Force at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.
What activities do you enjoy in your spare time? Working out, baking, and boating.
Henry Hong is Regional Vice President of Enterprise Holdings based in Neptune, NJ. A graduate of University at Albany, Henry resides in Howell, NJ.
How did you get involved with UWMOC? I first became involved with United Way over 25 years ago through Enterprise’s employee contribution campaign. I served on the board of United Way of Monmouth County and was the Chair of the Annual Tee-Off Committee prior to the merger that formed UWMOC. After returning to the area for work, I’m happy to rejoin the board of the merged organization.
Which of our impact areas are you most passionate about? I find education to be the most important as it’s the foundation for kids to have a strong future.
What does “Living United” mean to you? Giving, advocating and volunteering to help those less fortunate in our own communities.
What activities do you enjoy in your spare time? Golfing and attending sporting events and concerts.
Shannon McCoy is Station Manager for United Parcel Service (UPS) based in Lyndhurst, NJ and a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Shannon resides in Colts Neck, NJ with his wife, Kara, and son, Aidan.
How did you get involved with UWMOC? I initially became involved as the United Way Campaign Champion for UPS in the North Atlantic District, and joined the UWMOC Board of Directors in order to better the community, help the less fortunate and impact lives.
Which of our impact areas are you most passionate about? Maintaining good health is the biggest investment that someone can make, because without it, a lot of things in life would become impossible.
What does “Living United” mean to you? When you “Live United”, you can accomplish multiple goals as one team.
Additional community involvement: Chair of the UPS Veterans Business Resource Group for NY/NJ.
What activities do you enjoy in your spare time? Hiking, golfing and gardening.
John Zammetti is Project Manager for Wegmans Food Markets for the NJ/Metro NY market. A graduate of College of William and Mary, John resides in Asbury Park, NJ.
How did you get involved with UWMOC? Wegmans has always partnered with United Way and I was asked to participate on the Fund Distribution Committee when I was at our Manalapan store in 2004. I’ve also been a part of the Community Impact, Youth Career Pathways, and Success in the Early Years Committees.
Which of our impact areas are you most passionate about? I am passionate about all three, but would have to select education as the foundational impact area. I believe the other two impact areas can be influenced through education. Early childhood reading would rank as my most passionate interest.
What does “Living United” mean to you? Caring, paying attention and seeking to understand how, and with whom, you can align yourself to help contribute to the well-being of your community.
What activities do you enjoy in your spare time? In addition to spending time with family, I love being outdoors. I enjoy being on the shore although big mountains are a close second. I enjoy biking, body surfing and skiing.
Advisory Board Member Carol Stillwell is the Owner, President and CEO of Stillwell-Hansen, Inc., a leader in data center infrastructure solutions based in Edison, NJ. Carol resides in Holmdel, NJ and is the proud owner of Stillwell Stables horse farm in Colts Neck, NJ.
How did you get involved with UWMOC? United Way’s President and CEO Lori McLane and I have a long history of working together at various non-profits. If Lori is leading the way, I am always confident in the ability of the organization to meet its goals and achieve mission objectives. I am honored to align myself with a well-known international organization that has an ability to have local impact in areas of the community which speak to my heart.
Which of our impact areas are you most passionate about? I believe the three pillars that UWMOC focuses on are the cornerstones of a successful life. They are intertwined and inseparable. Without financial stability, the chances of achieving and maintaining good health are greatly diminished. Also, when children are concerned about family financial instability and food insecurity, it has been proven time and again they are far more likely to fall behind in school. In addressing all three of these areas collectively, we can make the biggest impact and secure the best outcome possible for those in our community.
What does “Living United” mean to you? By aiding others in achieving their maximum potential, helping families get ahead, and assuring that basic needs are being met, we can bridge gaps in the challenges faced by the underserved residents in Monmouth and Ocean counties. Working together for the common good has never been more important than it is today. With the many challenges our community is facing, it is imperative that we Unite to close the cracks so the most vulnerable in our community do not slip into despair. We must continue to identify issues, respond, and rebuild together.
Additional community involvement: Serves on the boards of Brookdale Community College; CFC Loud and Clear; Count Basie Theatre; Bayshore Medical Center; Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation; Monmouth Medical Center Foundation Advisory Board; Parker Family Health Center Advisory Board; Lunch Break Advisory Board; YMCA Advisory Council; and 180 Turning Lives Around.
What activities do you enjoy in your spare time? Spending time with my beloved cat, Dora, my horses, and vacationing in beautiful Napa Valley.
Now, more than ever, United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties needs your support to do what we do best -- help our community respond, recover, rebuild and reimagine for the long term.
You can help improve the education, financial stability and health for everyone in our community and give hope for a brighter tomorrow.
Visit www.uwmoc.org/give for a variety of ways to make an impact.
2021 ANNUAL TEE-OFF
Monday, May 17, 2021 at Hollywood Golf Club in Deal, NJ
Thursday, June 24, 2021 at Patricia’s in Holmdel, NJ