MCCC’s Women in Business Feed 150 Working Poor, Raise $2.6k for Community Soup Kitchen in Morristown
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – The Morris County Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business Program hosted its latest community outreach event at the Community Soup Kitchen and Outreach Center in Morristown on Tuesday, Oct. 29. More than two dozen WIB volunteers helped with food prep and serving throughout the day.
According to Aida Visakay, who co-chaired the event alongside fellow member Christy Ward, WIB’s corps of volunteers was “30 strong” and was backed by the support of three sponsors: Casey Gocel of Mandelbaum Barrett P.C., Kim Luthy of Allied Wealth Partners, and Christy Ward of MC Ward Images.
“When you ask our women to get involved, the sky’s the limit,” says Debbie Wolpov, Chairperson of the WIB Program. “It is a true testament to their dedication, both to each other and to our community.”
The volunteer event coincided with the soup kitchen’s Market Basket Day, when local supermarkets donate fresh produce and meats, giving individuals in need the opportunity to shop and take what they need to feed themselves and their families. The individuals are encouraged to make multiple rounds through the market, until all of the food is gone.
“This is fruits, vegetables, meats – sustainable, nutritious foods,” Wolpov says. “Unfortunately, though, the individuals who come in also have to consider how they can prepare the food they choose. These are the underserved, and many may only have a hot pot with no access to a stove, oven or microwave. It’s humbling.”
In addition to donating their time, all participants were required to make a financial contribution, and in total, $2,600 was raised for the soup kitchen. One hundred percent of that money goes directly to feeding the hungry.
“Having so many volunteers to support the soup kitchen and help those who may not have the opportunities we’ve been afforded speaks volumes to the character of our members,” says Christine Cox-West, WIB’s Vice Chair. “Paying it forward is a common practice of the program because people just care. I think that says a lot.”
This was the WIB Program’s second volunteer event of the year, as the group aims each year to host one event in the spring and one in the fall. Earlier this year, WIB members contributed their time and efforts to a home build with Morris Habitat for Humanity. This fall, they chose the soup kitchen because of its impactful mission.
“The amount of gratitude we experienced from the people we served made my whole day,” Ward says. “It was totally a gratitude-filled day. Plus, it was a lot of fun to do this with my friends. We’re not your ordinary chamber of commerce. People really do become friends here, and it is so inspiring to see everyone come together to lift up those in need.”
Nancy Rudgers, the Director of Development at the Community Soup Kitchen, estimates that with WIB’s volunteer time and financial support, they were able to feed 150 working poor, elderly and disabled guests on Tuesday.
“I am so grateful to these women for making an impact on the lives of people suffering from food insecurity,” Rudgers says.
The Community Soup Kitchen and Outreach Center provides healthy meals in a warm, safe and caring environment to anyone who is seeking nourishment. The center’s resources also enable them to provide mental health counseling; substance abuse counseling; support for veterans; employment counseling; housing and daily living assistance; nursing consultations and health screenings; emergency assistance for food, clothing and basic necessities; and English as a Second Language classes.
The Women in Business Program offers professional women a unique opportunity to grow within an atmosphere created specifically for them. It gives women a chance to meet other professional women from all sectors and sizes of businesses who face similar issues and challenges and allows them to discover how they address these issues and ultimately excel. In addition to the two community outreach events they sponsor each year, WIB also hosts regular chamber-wide events that allow its members to raise their visibility to other members of both genders.
The program’s next event – the final one for 2019 – will be held on Friday, Dec. 6 at the Westin Governor Morris in Morristown. The luncheon, titled Talking Money – and Life – with Jean Chatzky, will feature Jean Chatzky, a renowned personal finance ambassador who has written several books and is the financial editor of NBC’s Today Show, as she shares her basic philosophy: If you want to own your life, you have to own your money. Thanks to the generosity of Morgan Stanley, the first 200 people to register for the event will receive a copy of Chatzky’s book, Women with Money, and all attendees will have the opportunity to stay after the event for a book signing.
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