Thank you to all of the volunteers, donors and sponsors who made our July 21 Community Action Day a great success!
NAIOP New Jersey Community Action Project: Making a real difference since 2000
“Volunteering at the NJ Community Food Bank is an experience that impacts you to the core when you see how any small act of kindness--through donations of money, food or most importantly the gift of self--changes the lives of those less fortunate. When people in our industry are so richly blessed, it takes so little for us to give something that can truly touch the lives of others.”- Janet Proscia, Cronheim Mortgage, Member, NAIOP NJ Community Action Committee
On July 21, over 120 NAIOP NJ Members, family members and colleagues volunteered at the Community Food Bank of NJ in Hillside. Volunteers sorted incoming food donations, packed senior food bags, and repacked food and household items to be distributed to 18 counties across NJ. Members also conducted food and cash drives at work. We donated nearly TWO TONS of food and over $6,000.
Look Who Sent Volunteers
Look Who Donated Food/Cash from a Company Drive
Before our partnership with the Food Bank began in 2010, NAIOP undertook a number of different projects.
2009 Cleanup with New Brunswick Elementary Students: The project received glowing reviews from the teachers, students and volunteers. According to NJ CCC’s Sandy Huber, volunteers picked up 2.26 tons of litter and recycled an additional 1.15 tons.
NAIOP New Jersey’s participation added so much more than financial support. Ms. Huber said that this cleanup has become a model for the entire state. “The New Brunswick cleanup was a premier event: it was the first cleanup sponsored by the Clean Communities Council in which students had an opportunity to work side-by-side with business leaders. The benefits far surpassed our original goals.”
New Brunswick Clean Communities Coordinator Donna Caputo said “The NAIOP New Jersey Chapter volunteers set an excellent example for the two hundred eighty students to emulate. It was valuable to have the students exposed to professionals from a variety of fields. The NAIOP New Jersey Chapter volunteers were enthusiastic and greatly added to the excitement of the day. Through this event, students learned what litter is, why it is a concern to the City of New Brunswick and where litter goes if it isn’t picked up. They have learned not to litter, to pick up litter they see and to encourage others to Keep New Brunswick Clean. I believe this experience will have a long-term positive effect on the students. Having so many volunteers enabled the City to handle the large amount of students safely. The event would not have been as great as it was without the NAIOP New Jersey Chapter.”
2008 Coat Drive for the Salvation Army:The more than 200 coats and jackets donated by NAIOP members were most welcome, since the tough economy has led consumers to hold on to their old clothes longer or sell them at yard sales or on eBay. This has had a dramatic affect on the usual volume of donations. “We will give out these coats at our Thanksgiving Dinner,” said Social Services Director Jeanette Lugo, as she and Captain Domingo Urban picked up the donations at NAIOP’s offices in New Brunswick. NAIOP members who brought coats by the bagful to the Fourth Annual President’s Awards Dinner on November 3, 2008.
The New Brunswick Corps was amazed at the generous donation of 84 new jackets from Rennaissance Promotions in Delran, which was arranged and delivered by Richard Cureton and Whitesell Construction Co. Inc. Ms. Lugo noted that the need for help was overwhelming that year. “We had 350 families apply for our Adopt A Family program last year. This year we have surpassed 700 families.
2007 Burgess Memorial Park, Irvington: Raymond C. Burgess, Sr. Memorial Park sits in the heart of a residential neighborhood, adjacent to the Thurgood Marshall School and the local Head Start program. “This is a Godsend,” said fifth grade teacher Myrna Williams-Smith who brought some of her students to Build Day. “Finally, we have a safe haven that can be utilized by the community and our school.” Some 60 students, part of the school’s “Wayne Smith Achievers” group for academically dedicated youth, visited the park to watch longingly as the sparkling new play structures took shape. The students also enjoyed snacks, asked questions and thanked volunteers for their efforts.
“The renovation of this park will provide an aesthetically appealing oasis where children, families and the community can simply relax or engage in recreational pursuits,” said Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith, who supported the project with resources for site preparation, food for volunteers, equipment and other logistics involved with Build Day. “Its revitalization complements the beauty of the Thurgood Marshall School, and it will breathe new life into the entire neighborhood. We are grateful to NAIOP New Jersey for its diligence and the dedication of its membership, funding and resources to this important community project.”
Mayor Smith announced the creation of a “Friends of the Park” organization to maintain and look after the newly renovated playground. Renee Burgess, daughter of the park’s namesake and President of the Irvington School Board, lives across the street from the park. She said she was “honored” by NAIOP’s efforts and her father would have been pleased.
2006 Breunig Avenue Park, Trenton: "My hope is that residents in the area will follow the example of basically strangers who took time to take care of an area they are not even from," said Trenton Mayor Douglas Palmer, who was first to try the new slide at the ribbon cutting.
2005 Peace Playground, Newark: “This is a sign to our children not only that there are people who care and support them, but also of the possibility and hope for the future of this place and our school. It is celebrated and honored in the voices of our children, who play and breathe freely in a safe and green space.” Fiona Thomas, Principal of Lady Liberty Academy
2004 Vreeland Park, Paterson: “Here in Paterson we are steadily working to revitalize our community and bring back its rich history. Our parks are an integral part in the revitalization process. The Coat of Arms for Paterson represents a man planting a mulberry bush with the motto “Spe et Labore,” meaning “with hope and labor”. Our partnership with NJ-NAIOP has been a labor of love, with hope of the seeds planted through this bond, blossoming like the flowers that bring added beauty to our parks.” Mayor Jose Torres
2003 Pocket Park, Asbury Park: “The NJ-NAIOP folks were good people to work with. The materials and the quality of the construction were excellent. Three years later, whenever I pass it the park is being used by people of all ages. The success of the project inspired the city to create a little kids’ water park adjacent to the site, so in that respect Build Day has had an ongoing, synergistic impact on recreational activity in Asbury Park.” Paul McEvily, Associate Executive Director, Asbury Park Interfaith Neighbors
2002 Thomas Mundy Peterson Park, Perth Amboy: "The City of Perth Amboy is grateful to NAIOP for selecting us for the site of a new park and playground. Their efforts helped to revitalize our city and make a difference in building a better tomorrow for our young children and the entire community." Mayor Joseph Vas
2001 Fred “Coach” Shield Memorial Park, Harrison: “Our Build Day park is a phenomenal attraction. It’s amazing and gratifying to see our culturally and ethnically diverse population – from mothers and infants, to adolescents, teens and senior citizens – sitting in the gazebo together. It was so much fun creating it in partnership with NJ-NAIOP. So many people came out to work on it. Our high school students still maintain the plantings there, and everyone really takes care of the place. It’s a true community project, and one in which I find a great source of pride every day.” Mayor Raymond McDonough
2000 Frog Hollow Playground, Elizabeth: “The City of Elizabeth is proud to have been host to the first Build Day. NJ-NAIOP presented us with an incredible project to completely refurbish one of our playgrounds. Frog Hallow was a perfect choice, being located in the City’s oldest and most historic area. Volunteers transformed this dated, underutilized park into an oasis of recreation and pride for the entire community. It now teems with families and children enjoying the great work of this private/public partnership. On behalf of the residents of the City of Elizabeth, a million thanks to the NJ-NAIOP for this a great initiative that keeps giving well after the ribbon cutting ceremony. Imagine what we could accomplish if all associations were as committed to improving communities as NJ-NAIOP.” Mayor Chris Bollwage