Hannah and Libby, two 13-year-olds raised more than $1,000 for the AECDC. They undertook this project in preparation for their Bat Mitzvahs, which they celebrated this fall. In the Jewish tradition, the Bar (for boys) or Bat (for girls) Mitzvah marks the transition to Jewish adulthood. As part of this transition, the new adults take on the responsibility of doing good deeds for others.
After discussions with family, teachers and Norka Torres, Director of the AECDC, Hannah and Libby were convinced that the mission of the CDC to help the elderly, disabled, working poor and other low income individuals provided the perfect opportunity for fulfilling their community service responsibilities. Hannah and Libby composed a letter explaining the reasons for their choice to concentrate on the B-Fed (Baby Formula and Emergency Diapers) Program. They solicited donations for baby products (disposable diapers, wipes, baby formula, clothes, etc.) from local stores. They also created a website featuring the letter and a place to make a donation.
We are all very proud of Libby and Hannah. Their dedication and involvement in community work is an inspiration to us all.
During this Thanksgiving, the AECDC provided 40 turkeys and 15 food baskets to some of our CDC client families who would not have had a holiday dinner otherwise. We partnered with the Suydam Street Reformed Church, which gave some of the turkeys. The other food was supplied by members of Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple and other private donors.
Our holiday gift program, called “The Wishing Wall” enabled 250 children in 115 families to have their wishes come true through donations of toys, clothes and gift cards. Miller Logistics, a temporary staffing agency, adopted 10 children in 5 families. This agency also provides employment for some of our clients. Robert Wood Johnson Community Health, the New Brunswick Police Department, Gambino’s Restaurant as well as private donors contributed to the endeavor. However, the majority of donations came from members of the Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple.
The AECDC has received a $2000 grant the National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN) to further its effort to help babies in New Brunswick and surrounding areas. The funds will be used to help pay the the AECDC staff that provides not only the diapers, but also referrals for many other services. The AECDC was one of 61 national recipients of the inaugural Funds for Change grant.
The Funds for Change grants are designed to enhance the sustainability or capacity of individual diaper banks to address diaper need in their respective communities. In total, NDBN awarded more than $100,000 in grant funding to member diaper banks operating in 30 states. However, the net impact of the Funds for Change exceeds $200,000, as each NDBN grant is matched dollar-for-dollar at the local level. The 61 grants awarded ranged in size from $800 to $2,000 and went to both newly formed and established diaper banks, located in communities throughout the country.
Our Program Director, Norka Torres participated in a march and rally calling for the end to intimate partner violence in New Brunswick. This is the 6th consecutive year of her involvement. Norka has been working with the New Brunswick police department and represents the AECDC with the Coalition against Domestic Violence. The coalition has been instrumental in establishing the need for transitional housing for people who have been abused. She is frequently sought out by clients who need concrete services such as shelter for herself and children and referral to other programs in our area.
Domestic violence refers to more than physical abuse, although this does occur. Physical violence can occur as other forms of abuse escalate. Various forms of abuse that can lead to physical abuse are as follows: verbal abuse, emotional or mental abuse where the abuser causes the person to feel badly about her/ himself, sexual abuse where the abused person is forced to do things they do not want to do, threats to harm self or others to get his way, or economic abuse where the abuser withholds money or uses it to control the other person. In homes where children have witnessed violence, there is an increased probability that 60-to70% of the boys will become abusers and at least 50 to 60% the girls will become victims. There are many cases where the violence escalates to physical abuses that result in hospitalization for physical injury, or even death. Intimate violence in relationships is about power and control in the relationship. Help is available through mental health and family service agencies. Norka refers to these often.