SPARTA, NJ – Sussex County dignitaries, and members of the business community gathered this morning at the Lake Mohawk Country Club for the kickoff breakfast of the United Way of Northern New Jersey’s Live United campaign for 2012 through 2013.
“It’s a core future for helping our residents, we are 35 years strong in Sussex County,” said Bob Dunphy of Clear Channel Radio, who is the Vice-President of Development, for Sussex County’s local board.
The organization overall currently celebrates its 125th year of service to communities worldwide.
Theresa Leamy from the United Way Leadership Team, who is the Senior Vice President of Resource Development said, “I’m really pleased to be in Sussex County, which has really embraced our motto, ‘Live United.’”
Leamy said 1.1 million households are unable to afford the basis needs, including: housing, healthcare, childcare, and transportation.
“There are 32 percent of Sussex County families struggling to make ends meet,” Leamy added.
The group’s “ALICE” (“Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed”) acronym was a topic at the forefront of the breakfast.
“’ALICE’ is one step away from poverty,” Leamy said.
According to statistics provided by the United Way of Northern Jersey, as of 2010 there were 149,239 residents in Sussex County, making up 54,881 households. The median income is $84,115.
The 32 percent of struggling households equates to 17,711; 2,749 (5 percent) are below the U.S. poverty line, and 14,962 are considered “ALICE”.
The figures also show that 68 percent of families in the county are considered “financially stable”.
In terms of the Economic Viability Index (evaluating income, opportunities, affordability, and support available for ALICE households throughout the state, Sussex County ranked 52 on a scale of one to 100. The county comes in ninth out of 21 counties, having dropped 14 percent since 2007.
Monthly costs for 2010 reflect for families the monthly costs equate to $5,464 average to live in the county, with an annual wage of $65,574, and for a single adult, $2,273, with annual wages at $27,272.
Senator Steven Oroho was the keynote speaker.
“I’d like to commend the United Way for the Live United Campaign,” Oroho said.
Oroho said, “People would rather give than be taxed,” Oroho said.
He lauded Sussex County efforts through the “Champions for Charity” program, started by County Clerk Jeffrey Parrott, when he was a freeholder, which has brought over 200,000 pounds of food to the county food banks over the last few years.
Oroho remarked how impressed he was by the giving spirit of neighbors helping neighbors in the county.
“Think of what happened during Hurricane Irene,” Oroho said. “Think of how many people took off from work to help their neighbor.”
He said one of the most effective ways to help in the campaign is through word of mouth, and tell five to 10 people, and then ask them to talk to five to 10 people themselves.
Mary Emilius, the Executive Director of the United Way of Sussex County, thanked her current board.
“Our board members are simply awesome,” Emilius said. “This is the hardest working, most fun-loving board I’ve had the privilege to serve.
Headed up by Sussex County Board Chair Bruce Tomlinson, General Manager/Executive Editor from the New Jersey Herald, the board also includes: Frank Ableson (navitend), Patricia Backman (Sussex Bank), Mary Dolan (Community Volunteer), Bob Dunphy (Clear Channel Radio), Cynthia Heismeyer (Selective Insurance Group), Patrick Kenah (A.M. Best Company, Inc.), Catherine Kut (Weichert Realtors), Glenn Lewis (Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice), Janice Mandeville (Indus American Bank), Keith Mitchell (The Mitchell Agency), Michael Morel (Morel Builders), Nancy Morrisey (Community Volunteer), Michael O’Bremski (JCP&L), Janice Pasculli (Hollander, Strelzik, Pasculli, Pasculli, Hinkes, Gacquin, Vendenberg & Hontz, LLC), Kevin Prendergast (Lakeland Bank), Sarah Roskowsky (Sussex Bank), Suzanne Swank (Community Volunteer), Lee Williams (New Jersey Herald), and Barbara Wortmann (Sussex County Community College).
She also recognized supporters Peggy Post (de Tocqueville Donor), Robin Tomlinson (Sussex Bank Workplace Campaign), John Mathews (Scholar Athlete Program Chairperson), Bill Kovach (Ames Rubber Workplace Campaign), Michael Schoen (JCP&L Workplace Campaign), and Karen Meyer (Lake Mohawk German Christmas Market Chairperson).
“It takes money to do what the United Way does,” Tomlinson said. “We need you to talk to your neighbors and other business associates.”
Emilius said some of the projects at the forefront of the United Way of Northern New Jersey in Sussex County includes: the Caregiver Coalition, which is now helping to support 135 residents, and Success By 6, which helps children to ready for kindergarten.
There is an upcoming fundraiser event for the United Way, the B.O.O.M.R. (Bike On Old Mine Road) Bike Tour on Saturday, Oct 13. Click here for more information.
Other happenings for the United Way in Sussex County are: Peacemaking Skills for Little Kids Workshop (September 28), United Way Caregivers Coalition meeting (October 4 and November 1), and Mentor Training (November 5). Click here for all events.
Click here for the Sussex County site, for help or to volunteer.