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BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - On Friday November 15, the Summit Area YMCA’s 8th Annual Laugh Out Loud (LOL) Charity Auction and Comedy Night gathered members of the community for a night of laughter and fundraising at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Berkeley Heights. With every raised paddle, attendees helped raise funds to make a meaningful impact within their community.
The LOL event raised more than $135,000 for meaningful Y programs including Child Care scholarships, Special Needs Programs, the Achievers teen college and career preparation program, preventing summer learning loss through Y Summer Camp, Military Family scholar ships and much more. Funds raised also go towards the Y’s Financial Assistance program which aids individuals and families gain access to programs and services at the Y in order to strengthen and build all in our community.
The night opened with check in and cocktail hour as guests enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvres and drinks while bidding on an exciting assortment of silent auction items. Silent auction items ranged from jewelry to celebrity and sports memorabilia, to luxurious getaway vacations to Bali, Greece and more. Live auction items included the ever popular In-Home Wine Tasting, a Luxury Getaway to Jamaica, a US Open Golf Experience, a Night with Giant’s Upcoming Star Saquon Barkley and a Ten Mile River Fishing Excursion.
Robert Jeffries, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Summit Area YMCA, opened the evening to the show by sharing various accomplishments of the Y in the past year in its dedication to strengthening community. The Y provided over $400,000 in financial assistance to programs like Summer Camp and Child Care; delivered 4,000 backpack meals to families in Summit facing food insecurity in collaboration with local Summit nonprofit and charity organizations; grew and donated over 500 pounds of fresh produce grown in the Summit Area YMCA’s Achieve Community Garden and delivered directly to local families and food pantries; committed over 6,000 hours of volunteer time for projects sponsored by the Y; and provided over 50 Achiever teens with an all-expenses paid trip to tour colleges in DC, Maryland and Virginia and explore options after high school.
“You are our greatest supporters. Your generosity has been outstanding both in terms of the hours you dedicate in your volunteerism, but also in your donations.” said Rob Jeffries. “And so we, and the Y community thank you all for your volunteering, donations in the past, your support tonight, and hopefully in the future. We have lots more big things to do in the community.”
Rob Radest, Capital Campaign Chair of the Summit Area YMCA followed, sharing thrilling information and imagery about upcoming renovation plans for the Summit YMCA.
Adam Zucker, sportscaster for CBS Sports Network, CNN College Sports and more, was the new host and emcee of the Laugh Out Loud Charity Auction & Comedy Night event. With his charismatic voice and demeanor, the new LOL emcee seamlessly guided the audience through the evening’s auction items and comedy skits featuring Sherry Davey, Dave Goldstein and local Summit comedian, Michael Jesionowski.
“Y still stands for young, right? No? Obviously I’m not the funny guy I thought I was.” Adam kidded as the crowd laughed. “Well, you know about the amazing fitness center, gym facilities, indoor pool, the classes, the youth programs. But the Y also offers a number of free programs and services I didn’t even know about until being asked to be here tonight, geared to support our community like LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA cancer recovery, Healthy Hearts Cardiac Rehab, Blood Pressure Monitoring, Achievers Teen college and career prep, the free 7th grade memberships, swimming lessons for 2nd graders, and programs for Special needs and financial assistance for those who can’t afford membership…” stopping mid-sentence, Adam joked with a fellow guest in the audience. “Oh! Sorry, you can’t bid on me. You know, I’m married, so… Anyhow, we’re raising money and all of this goes to support the great things that the Y does!”
As the evening came to an end, Paul Kieltyka, President & CEO of the Summit Area YMCA provided his closing remarks, thanking the crowd and reminding us all about the exciting news of the upcoming new Berkeley Heights YMCA.
“So grateful for you all coming out tonight and raising a lot of money to support all the meaningful programs that we do at the Y. It’s no secret that not far from here, we’re building a new facility. We haven’t opened a new Y building in over a hundred years, and next year, we’re doing it!” he said as guests applauded all around the room. “We’ll be changing lives and making a great impact in changing our communities with this new branch, and I’m so proud of what you have done here tonight in supporting the Y to continually strengthen the communities we serve. Thank you!”
The Summit Area YMCA is grateful to all who came and supported the Y, especially to our platinum sponsor Capital Group, gold sponsor Celgene and many other businesses and individuals who generously supported this year’s event.
View photos from the event! 2019 LOL PHOTO ALBUM
To support and donate to the Summit Area YMCA, visit www.thesay.org/lol
See how the Summit Area YMCA has changed lives in your community, see our Y impact stories at www.thesay.org/impact
Since our founding in 1886, the Summit Area YMCA is committed to strengthen community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.
About the Summit Area YMCA
The Summit Area YMCA is one of the area’s leading nonprofit 501(C)(3) community organizations. Founded in 1886, the Summit Area YMCA has a history steeped in working side-by-side with our neighbors to ensure that everyone, regardless of age, income and background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Each year, we serve more than 10,000 individuals with our free and fee-based programs and services in an area spanning the communities of Berkeley Heights, new Providence, Millburn, Springfield, Short Hills, Summit, Gillette and Stirling. Through the generosity of our members, donors and partners, we are able to offer financial assistance of our programs and services to those with demonstrated need.