The American Red Cross New Jersey Region honored three local community heroes at our annual Red, White & You Gala on Saturday, March 23, at the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel in Asbury Park. The event recognized the incredible impact of the Sunrise Optimist Club of Freehold, recipient of the Community Philanthropic Award; Holiday Express, recipient of the Clara Barton Community Humanitarian Award; and J. Knipper & Company, recipient of the Clara Barton Corporate Humanitarian Award.
“It is with great pleasure that we recognize outstanding members of our community whose extraordinary service has been instrumental in helping to fulfill the Red Cross mission in New Jersey,” said Rosie Taravella, CEO, American Red Cross New Jersey Region. “Our honorees have each demonstrated a commitment to ensuring help is there for people when they need it most.”
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Community Philanthropic Award
The Sunrise Optimist Club of Freehold is made up of more than 50 volunteers who are devoted ambassadors of the humanitarian mission of the American Red Cross. The club has organized several successful blood drives, as well as food collections for the residents of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. Their devotion to service is true to the organization’s belief that the giving of one’s self in service to others will advance the well-being of humankind, community life and the world. Optimist International is a worldwide volunteer organization made up of more than 2,500 local clubs whose members work each day to make the future brighter by bringing out the best in children, in their communities, and in themselves.
Clara Barton Community Humanitarian Award
The Holiday Express mission is to deliver music, financial support, food, and friendship in the metropolitan tri-state area to those with the greatest need for the gift of human kindness during the holiday season and throughout the year. For those struggling with financial problems, health issues, and loneliness, the holidays can be a time of increased sadness and stress. This is often the case for the people Holiday Express serves, which include those with mental and physical challenges, veterans, individuals in addiction and recovery programs, the isolated, the poor, the homeless, and children with serious illnesses. Their mission of humanitarian service aligns with that of the Red Cross, to prevent and alleviate human suffering. Founder Tim McLoone is a longtime friend and supporter of the work of the Red Cross, having entertained at the Red, White & You Gala for many years, acting as band leader and emcee.
Clara Barton Corporate Humanitarian Award
J. Knipper and Company provides the healthcare industry with solutions in direct marketing, sampling, compliance, information technology and sales force productivity. When the company began doing business in 1986, its founders Joseph and James Knipper wanted to create a unique atmosphere and culture for its employees. It is encouraged for employees to participate in community events and to volunteer in charitable activities that enrich other’s lives. When a crisis occurs, Knipper employees rally to help, and they choose to partner with the Red Cross because it is not only synonymous with help during a disaster or crisis situation, but because the Red Cross’s outreach in the community comes in many different facets. Some Knipper employees have received help from the Red Cross, including aid in finding shelter and obtaining financial assistance after a home fire and receiving lifesaving blood in an emergency medical situation.
Attendees had the opportunity to explore a Red Cross mission room where volunteers shared how the organization is making an impact in their local community, across the country, and around the globe.
“It is the goal of the gala committee each year to provide our guest with the opportunity to truly immerse themselves in the various programs of the American Red Cross,” Taravella told attendees. “We have amazing volunteers here with us tonight to demonstrate how Red Cross programs help prevent and alleviate human suffering.”
Each day, Red Cross volunteers respond to local disasters, teaching lifesaving health and safety skills, ensure patients have access the blood they need to survive, support U.S. service members and their families, and help those impacted by international crises.
Proceeds from the Red, White & You Gala support Red Cross program and services, including disaster relief for families affected by home fires. Last year, the American Red Cross New Jersey Region responded to more than 900 local disasters, mostly home fires, to provide comfort and emergency assistance for temporary lodging, food and clothing as needed to more than 2,250 New Jersey families.
Red, White & You Committee Chairs Walter Hopkin and John Weiss, along with the Red Cross, are thankful for the support of sponsors including Emerald Sponsors Alston & Bird, Hackensack Meridian Health, J. Knipper & Company, and Monmouth Medical Center and Monmouth Medical Center, Southern Campus; Garnet Sponsors Davison Easton and Munoz and New Jersey Natural Gas; Cocktail Sponsor BP Print Group; Pearl Sponsors CentraState Healthcare, Coastal Title Agency, LG Insurance Agency, Manasquan Bank, and Toll Brothers; and Kick-Off Party Sponsor Tommy's Tavern and Tap.