CHATHAM, NJ - Over 150 guests attended the 34th annual fall benefit of the Covenant House Auxiliary of Morris County. This year’s theme, “Party at the Pond,” held at the Noe Pond Club in Chatham Township, raised funds nearing $50,000 for Covenant House New Jersey. 

"Twinkling lights, tiki torches, delicious food catered by Chef Shaun Ahern of Tiff’s in Union, s’mores by the fire pit, and music by Madison band Half Step Down, all helped create the setting for a very magical evening," said Mary Beth Eckhardt, Board Member.  

"The festivities quieted when Jessie, the guest of honor at this year’s Covenant House benefit, rose to speak about the importance of Covenant House in his life," Eckhardt added. 

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As a young child, Jessie lost both of his parents to HIV and ended up in foster care. Sadly, Jessie became homeless as a teenager. Covenant House NJ took Jessie in and provided him with shelter, food and the heartwarming support he so desperately needed.  Fortunately, a teacher introduced Jessie to the cello many years ago and it became his passion.  His love for music kept him fighting for a better life.  Jessie studied at the Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts in East Orange and currently attends Montclair State University.  Jessie will graduate this coming year and certainly has a promising and exciting future ahead of him. 

"The highlight of the evening came when Jessie performed “Imagine” by John Lennon, on his electric cello," she said. 

Each year, Covenant House New Jersey shelters over 2000 homeless and at-risk youths between the ages of 18-21, by first responding to their immediate and basic needs of food, shelter, clothing and healthcare; and then, by giving them the support they need to become self-sufficient and independent young adults.  The non-profit organization has statewide residential programs that offer education, vocation, medical, and legal services to the young people who walk through their doors. 

The nearly $50,000 that was raised for Covenant House New Jersey includes the generous support of title sponsor, Hollister Construction Services of Parsippany and corporate sponsors: SJ Home, Madison Brokerage, Smythe Volvo/Aston Martin, British Home Emporium, Shop Rite Village Super Markets, Inc., Lanca Sales, Wexford Custom Homes & Renovation, Macro Consulting Group, Tiff’s Catering by Chef Ahern, and The Davino Family Foundation, Inc., with additional support from Half Step Down Band, Noe Pond Club who donated the venue, Command Financial, Flowers from Hannah, and Tivoli Creative Design.

Board member, Mary Beth Flanagan, thanked the guests and event sponsors for supporting the tireless work Covenant House does to keep homeless youth off the streets, saying “By being with us tonight and answering the call to help others in need, you are helping Covenant House continue the work they do so well and giving these kids a chance at a life they wouldn’t have otherwise. Your outpouring of support is exactly what Covenant House needs to keep doing what it does best.”

The Covenant House Auxiliary of Morris County began in the early 80’s when a small group of Madison women decided to do something about the growing issue of youth homelessness in the greater New York City area. Today, the group is made up of 29 people from Madison, Chatham, Florham Park, Morristown and Harding Township and continues the work started over 34 years ago.

In addition to the annual fall benefit, the Covenant House Auxiliary of Morris County hosts a Baby Shower each May for the young, formerly homeless mothers and their babies, who now reside in Covenant House “Raphael House” in Elizabeth.  At Halloween, the board members and their families carve pumpkins with Covenant House Newark residents.  In early December, the group visits the Newark center to help decorate for Christmas. 

In conjunction with the fall fund-raising benefit, a Covenant House Auxiliary board member recently launched the “Covenant House Egg Challenge”.  An anonymous donor has offered to match, two-fold, all donations made to this effort up to $5,000.  For more information, visit   #covenanthouseeggchallenge

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