MADISON, NJ  –  Over 150 guests attended this year’s Madison event “Fall Into Giving”, raising $49,000 for Covenant House New Jersey. 

"Autumn décor, floral & twig clustered centerpieces and a hay-sprinkled Madison lawn, set the stage for the 33rd annual Covenant House Auxiliary of Morris County’s fall benefit," said Claudia McIntyre, Board Member.

The festivities quieted when a young woman named Chrystal, who currently resides at Covenant House Newark, courageously took the microphone and shared her life story. Chrystal told of her lifetime of upsets and struggles in a family supported by the illegal drug market.  In desperation, Chrystal fled her troubled home and turned to gang life on the streets.  After many months in this frightening and dangerous lifestyle, Chrystal was referred to Covenant House by a friend.  Her attempts to leave the gang left her physically beaten and injured, though the decision to leave ultimately changed her life and got her back on track.

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At Covenant House, Crystal found the family, love, security and guidance she so desperately needed, a decision she believes “saved her life”.  Chrystal will complete the last section of her GED next month and has recently gained full-time employment with Amazon.  She plans to continue her education and hopes to become a real estate agent someday.  Her greatest goal is to regain custody of her daughter who was taken from her care during her troubled times.  Chrystal looks back on the young girl she once was, filled with constant fear, uncertainty and insecurity, and knows that she is now a strong and capable woman, able to do great things.

Auxiliary president Diane Masucci commented, “It is these stories of triumph, like Chrystal’s, that fuel our efforts and passion to support Covenant House and the life-changing work they do every day of the year.”

Each year, Covenant House New Jersey shelters 2000 homeless and at-risk youth 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 $49,000 that was raised for Covenant House New Jersey includes the generous support of title sponsor, Hollister Construction Services of Parsippany and corporate sponsors: ETF Managers Group, Roseland Mack-Cali Development, KL Sotheby's /Boyd-Eckhardt Homes, MACRO Consulting Group, Smythe Volvo of Summit, Stonington Cabinetry, ShopRite/Village Super Market Inc., Weichert Realtors, and the Davino Family Foundation, as well as, additional support from Lanca Sales/The Haralampoudis Family, Command Financial Printing/The Penders Family, British Home Emporium, and Tivoli Creative Design Studio, with event food donations from Slamwich, Chef Loryn, Redux, On A Roll and Crowley’s Cupcakes.

Event guest and title sponsor, Kieran Flanagan of Hollister Construction, commented, “Covenant House gives these kids a chance at a life they wouldn’t have otherwise.  It’s a wonderful thing to see so many Madison residents come together to support the work Covenant House does so well.”

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 the Covenant House “Raphael Life House” in Elizabeth.  At Halloween, their families carve jack-o-lanterns with the Covenant House Newark residents. At Christmas, the group visits the Newark center in early December to deck their halls for Christmas.

For more information about Covenant House New Jersey, please visit www.covenanthousenj.org.