Over 100 volunteers braved the cold yesterday to give back to the community at the third annual Hopewell Gives Back: MLK Day of Service, an event organized by three Hopewell Central High School teens, Sarah Cleveland, Sam Fowler, and Gavin Fowler. The efforts benefitted a number of local nonprofit organizations: Costume Hangers, I Support the Girls – Central/South New Jersey, Mercer Street Friends, The Rescue Mission of Trenton, Seeds to Sew International, SAVE – A Friend to Homeless Animals, and the Sourland Conservancy.
“I was astonished at how many people showed up,” said Sam Fowler, one of the organizers. “I never imagined doubling the amount of volunteers from last year.”
Volunteers of all ages, from the community and local organizations including Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, National Honors Society, worked for three hours at the Hopewell Presbyterian Church and baked over 1000 cookies, tied 19 full-sized fleece blankets for the homeless, made 3000 native “seed bombs,” tied 24 cat blankets, assembled 195 period packs and decorated hundreds of paper bags! They also collected 17 winter coats, 153 bras, recital costumes, and four bags of nonperishable food items.
“I hope this event showed that volunteering is fun and will encourage people to volunteer more often,” said Gavin Fowler, one of the organizers.
Linda Willimer, of I Support The Girls, agreed, “This was a terrific opportunity to get the word out. Several of today’s volunteers asked how they could help me in the future.”
Hopewell Gives Back: MLK Day of Service, was sponsored by the Sourland Conservancy and made possible, in part, by a generous Hopewell Harvest Fair grant. The organizers would like to thank the Hopewell Presbyterian Church for once again hosting the MLK Day of Service. To learn more or participate in future events, visit their Facebook page www.facebook.com/HopewellGivesBack.
About the Organizations
- Costume Hangers, Inc. collects and distribute gently used costumes, shoes/ accessories to individuals in the performing arts under financial/ funding challenges. Learn more at www.costumehangers.weebly.com.
- I Support the Girls collects and distributes donations of new and gently used bras, and individually sealed tampons and maxi pads to women and girls who are homeless, refugees, in transitional housing, or fleeing domestic violence. For more information, visit www.isupportthegirls.org.
- Mercer Street Friends honors the equality of all people and strives for a just, prosperous, and peaceful society for all. We respond to the needs of the community to build alliances that will have the most meaningful impact in addressing issues of poverty. We provide a range of integrated services that build community, nurture self-worth and independence, and offer resources for children, families, and communities to overcome poverty and its lasting effects. They will distribute the donated food to families in need throughout Mercer County. Visit their website to learn more www.mercerstreetfriends.org.
- The Rescue Mission of Trenton serves the truly needy men and women who have no place to turn for shelter, food, and clothing. The Mission provides a safe, clean, warm, refuge for the homeless, the hungry, the transient and the addicted. Visit their website to learn more www.rescuemissionoftrenton.org.
- Seeds to Sew International seeks to improve the lives of women and girls in disadvantaged communities through education and job skills training. Their goal is for the women and girls in their programs to use these job skills to earn money and to support themselves and their communities. They also provide training in the basics of personal finance such as cash management, opening/balancing/reconciling a bank account, and record keeping to build a foundation for future success. To learn more, visit their shop in Hopewell Borough or their website www.seedstosew.org.
- SAVE – A Friend to Homeless Animals, is an independent non-profit animal shelter dedicated to protecting the health and welfare of homeless companion animals in the greater Princeton area. Through six core programs of Rescue, Shelter, Health and Welfare, Spay/Neuter, Adoption, and Humane Education, SAVE focuses on the rehabilitation and successful placement of treatable and adoptable animals. SAVE endeavors to build, foster, and strengthen the human-animal bond. Visit their facility in Skillman, NJ or their website www.savehomelessanimals.org.
- The Sourland Conservancy’s mission is to protect, promote and preserve the unique character of the Sourland Mountain region of central New Jersey. They will engage volunteers to distribute the native seed bombs throughout Sourland preserves to benefit the pollinators, birds and other native animals – some threatened and endangered. To learn more, visit their office in Hopewell, NJ, or their website www.sourland.org.