It’s Giving Tuesday across America and, here in Verona, it’s a fresh opportunity to put your philanthropy into local needs.
This year, we begin by highlighting Let’s Lift Connor. The Barshay family’s teenage son has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and VeronaTogether has been running fundraisers to help them remodel their house to meet Connor’s needs. Photographers Jeff Stiefbold and Stephen Ruggiero have created a 2022 calendar filled with images of New Jersey landscapes. The calendars are $20 and you can buy them through VeronaTogether’s Facebook page.
The organizations below are the bedrock of volunteer Verona. Your donations may also be of use to Scouting groups like Verona Boy Scouts Troop 2, Verona Cub Scout Pack 32, and Verona Girl Scouts Unit 26; and youth sports teams, particularly those like the Verona High School field hockey and swim teams, which are entirely pay-to-play.
We’ve highlighted the Verona Park Conservancy, which maintains our beautiful park, but many groups use the park for fundraisers. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Essex County Out of the Darkness Walk was started in 2017 after two young Verona men died by suicide, but it now supports mental health programs across the county. Also beyond our borders but deeply rooted in Verona: Backpacks for Life. Created by a Verona native who is a Marine Corps veteran, it supports homeless and at-risk veterans in New Jersey and elsewhere who want to rejoin civilian life.
And please remember that, if you can’t make a local donation this year, there are other ways to help. All of these organizations run on volunteer energy. Think about giving a few hours of your time to support their work.
GIVING TUESDAY 2021
- Holy Spirit Food Pantry: The Episcopal Church opens its food pantry to those in need on the fourth Saturday of every month, and it accepts donations of food and financial support.
- Verona Rescue Squad: The all-volunteer squad has been providing free emergency medical services to Verona since 1927. Its website lists many ways that you can support the squad, from memorial donations to Amazon Smile.
- Verona Fire Department: While the town supplies its trucks, volunteer firefighters and community donations make the VFD run.
- Verona PBA Local 72: The PBA turns donations into Christmas trees for families in need, holiday cheer at special needs schools and support for many other community groups.
- Verona Park Conservancy: For more than two decades, it has worked with the Essex County Parks Department to maintain and improve a park designed by the Olmsted Brothers.
- Friends of the Verona Public Library: Since 1984, the Friends have supported the Library’s children’s, teen and adult programs, and other needs. They also run the big December sale of used books, which this year runs from December 2 to December 5.
- VeronaTogether: Let’s Lift Connor is one of several fundraisers created by this newer nonprofit. Keep an eye out for its cornhole tournaments, too.
- The Hilltop Conservancy: Since 2003, it has worked to restore the woodlands and grasslands of the 284-acre Hilltop Reservation on Verona’s west side.
- Minette’s Angels Foundation: Our home-growth breast cancer charity honors a nurse who once lived in Verona by helping patients and their families, supporting research, and offering scholarships to students in nursing and medical programs.
- Verona Junior Women’s Club: Its members have been doing social and charitable work in Verona since 1926; newer programs include its Packs With Purpose school supplies drive and Verona Fights Hunger Week.
- Verona Woman’s Club: It supports scholarships and many other groups, through its town-wide garage sale and Share Your Light Night event.
- Verona Lions Club: If you need a wheelchair, hospital bed, cane, or crutches, the Verona Lions can supply it from their free Hospital Loan Closet.
- Verona UNICO: The Italian-American service organization runs the big 5K race through town to fund college scholarships. Look for its “Sunday Gravy” dinner next year.
- Verona Municipal Alliance Committee (VMAC): For more than three decades, it has supported programs to prevent the misuse and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other substances.
- Verona Foundation for Educational Excellence: VFEE gives teachers grants for programs to expand, enhance, and enrich the classroom learning experience.
- Verona Music Parents Association: It supports music education across the district.
- Verona Children’s Fund: Created in 1984 to provide a variety of assistance to children, is supported solely through private donations; to support it, send a check to Town Hall.
- Verona School Community Association: Each of Verona’s six public schools has an SCA, which support a wide variety of school programs.
Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash