Monthly Archives: November 2020

Reflecting On The True Power Of Giving

As the weather turns cold, I can’t help but feel grateful. 

I think about what a hard year it has been for our city, and how the stories of our community have been overshadowed by other major events. 

This year, more than ever, will be a crucial time to lend a hand to those who have fallen on hard times. 

I am reminded of a conversation I had with John Westervelt, CEO of the Catholic Charities (one of our partner organizations), about the people they reach out to everyday:

“They just needed that little helping hand. I tell everybody the same thing. $10, $15 gave that helping hand to someone that just needed a little push to start again.” 

I couldn’t agree more. 

The people of New Jersey are strong. 

With a little kindness from others, we can do so much. 

  • Every year, we see more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds build a good life for themselves
  • We hear of parents and caregivers going above and beyond for their children’s sake
  • We witness the transformation of the homeless, the mentally ill and the vulnerable into strong contributing members of society

Through your generosity, you give small but powerful pushes of inspiration. 

From the Greater Newark Holiday Fund team to you, thanks for all the “pushes” you’ve given to our communities. 

It truly has made all the difference.
To donate now, visit We are grateful for the “pushes,” especially this year.

Baby Basics program helps mother care for young son

Still just a baby, Joseph has already faced more challenges than most people do in a lifetime. His mother, Alexis, escaped an abusive relationship during her pregnancy with little more than the clothes on her back. Although Alexis was able to move in with a family member and find a full-time job, she still struggles financially. She now receives free diapers and other baby essentials from Baby Basics, a program of Children’s Aid and Family Services.

Joseph was born five weeks prematurely after Alexis went through an extremely difficult pregnancy. The baby spent one month in the NICU at the hospital and was diagnosed with Bartter Syndrome, a rare disease that affects kidney function.
“Joseph was taking six different prescriptions when he came home and needed to see a kidney specialist several times a month,” Alexis said. “And whenever he ran a fever, I had to take him to the emergency room right away.”

As a result of his condition, Joseph needs frequent diaper changes, which causes even more strain on Alexis’s limited finances.

“Even though I work full time, I was spending almost all of my money on diapers,” Alexis said. “The Baby Basics program has been a big help. I can save some money now and I’m very grateful.”

Alexis works hard to ensure her baby has a good childhood, and she lights up when she talks about him. “He loves playing with animals and toy cars. Despite everything he’s gone through, Joseph is the happiest baby. When he smiles, everyone feels better,” she said.

Children’s Aid and Family Services is able to provide free diapers and other baby essentials to low-income families in northern New Jersey because of the generosity of the Greater Newark Holiday Fund.

Visit the Greater Newark Holiday Fund on Twitter at, on Facebook at or on Instagram at

To make a donation, visit

Sexual assault victim finds help from Family Service League

Brenda, a 21-year-old college freshman, recently moved from Ohio to New Jersey for her first year of college. She struggled being away from her family and often felt isolated and alone.

She did not frequent local bars, however, she accepted an invitation by her classmates to have a few drinks to celebrate the end of the semester. At 4 a.m. Brenda woke up in her apartment feeling very sick, was partially dressed, and had no recollection of the events of the evening. Feeling scared and confused, she sought help at a local hospital. When Brenda arrived at the hospital, Family Service League’s Confidential Sexual Assault Advocate was dispatched to accompany the survivor through the forensic medical examination.

Brenda was also able to speak to the advocate privately about her concerns about what may have transpired the prior evening. Brenda felt confused, scared, and blamed herself for not being more careful when she was drinking at the bar.

The advocate provided Brenda with information/referrals to local support services and explained her rights and options that she had as a survivor. With the support of the advocate, Brenda consented to the sexual assault forensic examination, which included a toxicology test. The advocate held her hand throughout the entire exam. The advocate also provided Brenda with a change of clothes, undergarments, and something to eat.

At this time, Brenda chose not to report the incident to the police, but Brenda was made aware that she can make a police report at a later time.

Brenda was grateful that she had the support of the advocate and that she felt believed. The care and support of an advocate is essential to support the recovery and healing process for all survivors of sexual assault.

Visit the Greater Newark Holiday Fund on Twitter at, on Facebook at or on Instagram at

To make a donation, visit

And We’re Off — The Giving Season is Officially Here

We kicked off the Giving Season officially last night, and even though we weren’t able to be in person this year, it was a wonderful time of discussion and celebration as we talked about making a difference in New Jersey together.

We were honored to be joined by Greg T from 103.5 KTU. His partnership as we kicked off gave the evening new energy and celebration.

We hope you are as excited as we are to make a difference where it counts this year!

Up next — #GivingTuesday — less than three weeks away!