The Brookdale Employee Volunteer Connection (EVC) continues to put the “community” in community college, with faculty, administration and staff coming together to support Monmouth County residents of all ages throughout the past year.
On April 3, EVC members and community volunteers were able to raise $1,600 for local food pantries and community groups through the annual Empty Bowls fundraiser.
For a donation of $6, participants at Brookdale’s Lincroft or Hazlet campuses received a bowl of soup or a piece of cake, served in their choice of a keepsake handmade bowl. Participants were also entered into a raffle for professionally made ceramic bowls.
As in years past, the event came together with the aid of countless volunteers from the Brookdale community. Art Professor Lori Uffer and her students handmade the ceramic bowls alongside Learning Assistant Erik Johanson. Culinary Arts Department Chair Michelle Zuppe provided 10 gallons of soup and sheet cakes. The Scroll and Pen Bookstore donated clay for the ceramic bowls, while dining services volunteers donated paper goods and kept the soups warm.
Brookdale Community Outreach Director Linda Martin also helped coordinate the selling of the handmade bowls at the annual Women’s Conference on the Lincroft campus, which collected more than $250.
Through this year’s Empty Bowls event, the EVC was able to donate $400 each to the county-based Community Outreach Group, Inc., Lunch Break in Red Bank, Faith Chapel in Union Beach and the Keyport Ministerium Food Pantry.
“The Brookdale community continues to be very generous and to jump in when asked,” said EVC coordinator Rosemary Kochman. “It is astonishing to see, year after year, how they are willing to give of their time and their resources to help others.”
The EVC, a volunteer collective of Brookdale community members, also sponsors events on campus and helps connect and mobilize colleagues to community service projects.
Six times each year EVC members provide and deliver dinners for Shrewsbury-based HABcore Inc., a residential, nonprofit organization that provides permanent or transitional housing for individuals who are homeless, disabled or unable to care for themselves.
In August 2013, the EVC once again collected backpacks and supplies for local children in grades K-5 as a part of Project Backpack. Volunteers collected 41 backpacks this year, including contributions from the Scroll and Pen Bookstore, Brookdale summer term students and the women’s soccer team. The supplies were delivered to Family and Children’s Services in Long Branch.
Accounts Payable Specialist Helen Vota and her “merry band of elves” also continued the EVC’s Giving Tree program this past winter, setting up displays at various Brookdale locations and encouraging students and employees to buy holiday gifts for local families and children.
This year the Giving Tree program collected 700 individual gifts, 100 gift cards and monetary donations for more than 50 families.