Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sponsor A Wreath Fair Becoming a Tradition in Local Town

Drive through Washington Township after December 6th, and you’re likely to come across a barrage of wreaths sprinkled about town, hanging up as you travel.

“We put wreaths up around route 24 on the white fences,” says Deacon John Amato of the Long Valley Presbyterian Church, “We put up more than four miles of them.”

This is all part of the “Sponsor A Wreath” fundraiser started by neighbors Sam Akin and Harvey Ort Jr. five years ago in an attempt to give money to the Washington Township Food Pantry. The Fundraiser has since expanded to aid the Resident’s Emergency Fund, which helps out residents who could use the extra money at this time of year. Both the Food Pantry and the Emergency Fund are both administered by the Interfaith Community Outreach of Washington Township Area (ICOWTA), which is a coalition of 10 local churches that operate both the pantry and the emergency fund in the Long Valley Presbyterian Church on Bartley Road.

“Akin and Ort were really the impetus for the fundraiser,” Deacon Amato says.

What started with about 25 families participating, though, has blossomed into a community-wide project, one that everybody from local businesses, to the Garden Club of Long Valley, and even the Old Farmer’s Road School get involved in every year. In fact, the aforementioned school donated 160, 659 pennies this year from their “Spirit Day” competitions, which is about 100,600 more than last year.

“Luckily, the bank had machines to sort through all those pennies,” Deacon Amato says, “It took them two whole hours.”

Despite all that money, though, the wreaths in the fundraiser aren’t actually bought, but rather, sponsored by people.

“Some people might give five dollars, some people might give two,” Deacon Amato says about the amount of money they receive each year from people, “and some people might give $1000 at one time.”

The money comes in from many different sources, though, the Washington Township Library being one such place.

“We welcome the opportunity to get the word out,” says library director, Virginia Scarlatelli. “One big push we had for it was in the first two weeks of October, where in lieu of fees, we had people give money to the food drive.”

The wreaths can be sponsored in dedication of a loved one or to any other benefit you see fit.
This year, 480 wreaths is the goal.

“It’s become a tradition,” Deacon Amato says.

The tying of bows on wreaths at Ort Farms will take place on December 5th from 4:00 PM—6:30, followed by the hanging of the wreaths, which will start at Valley View Chapel on December 6th from 9—11:30AM. All are invited to come.

No comments: