Resuscitating the Red Cross

| 22 Feb 2012 | 08:09

    Sussex County chapter in danger due to financial woes, By Jennifer Jean Miller Newton n The American Red Cross, Sussex County Chapter, is in danger of closing down operations. With the current state of the nation’s economy, donations have been down, placing this outreach organization in need of assistance itself. The chapter, which has been in existence and helping residents in the county during times of crisis for 91 years, is seeking help. A breakfast at the Farmstead Golf and Country Club in Andover on March 12 kicked off the group’s fundraising blitz, its “Heroes” campaign, initiated by Freeholder Director, Glen Vetrano. The group has a goal to raise $35,000 by April 2. So far approximately $13,000 has been raised. Vetrano believes reaching the goal is possible. “Even during the toughest times, there’s still a level of gift giving,” he said. Executive Director of the Sussex County Chapter Pat Day read a suggestion from Janet Neidhardt of Branchville, who had proposed that each family in the county raised a dollar, it would yield $50,000 in donations. This falls into the philosophy of taking smaller amounts of money from many contributors to reach the goal. “I’ve never been more excited to be a part of a community-based effort to make a difference in the lives of our residents,” said Vetrano. County Clerk, Erma Gormley, is donating funds from casual Friday events at the Sussex County Clerk’s office. Each employee who wears jeans on Fridays will donate a minimum of $5 to the Red Cross Chapter. Gormley also has other events planned. There are team captains appointed in the Heroes Program who oversee the fundraising activities of other Heroes, who spearhead trickle-down fundraising efforts themselves. Glenn Lewis, Public Affairs Manager of Embarq, is one of the team captains. Lewis said Reverend Brown School in Sparta will be doing bake sales. Lewis is overseeing Jessie Roe, a “Hero” of the Home Furniture Warehouse in Newton, and Don Hall, owner of The Chatterbox, who is asking his customers to donate and write their names on small signs with a Red Cross, which will be placed on the walls of his establishment. “The problem is most people don’t realize the Sussex County Chapter is not receiving help from any government agencies or the national chapter,” said team captain Dennis Becker of D. Becker Photo. “They are self-sustaining.” Becker believes if more people watch the video, it will reinforce the importance of the fundraising program. Other groups who are participating include seniors at Knoll Heights, Hinkley Auto in Newton and various local restaurants which will donate 15 percent of each patron’s bill on particular days. Heavy-hitting sponsors include Eastern Propane, the New Jersey Herald and PSE&G. Although Regional Public Affairs Manager of PSE&G George Sous is a resident of Morris County, he said he feels it is important for his company to help, and reached out to assist when Freeholder Director Vetrano announced the program. “The Red Cross is always there when a disaster happens and utility companies are there to prevent disasters from happening and are there to answer when they occur. The Red Cross is vital to the community and cannot be closed down.” For more information call 973-579-1600 or visit Where to dine out for the Red Cross Each of these establishments will be donating 15 percent of each patron’s bill to the Sussex County Chapter on particular days. Thursday, March 19 Andre’s Restaurant and Wine Boutique n 188 Spring St., Newton, Tel: 973-300-4192 (dine in only) Hayek’s Market n 1 Mill St., Newton, Tel: 973-383-1640 (take out dinners) Wednesday, March 25 Krogh’s Restaurant and Brew Pub - 23 White Deer Plaza, Sparta, Tel: 973-729-8428. Sunday, March 29 The Lafayette House, Olde Lafayette Village, 100 State Route 94, Lafayette, Tel: 973-579-3100 (Sunday Brunch)