DENVILLE, NJ-- Residents from Denville and nearby towns took over Gardner Field for a night full of prizes and fundraising for a good cause.
The Joey Bella Memorial Fund, founded in 1988, supports families in the surrounding community with children that are facing life-threatening illnesses. For the last 26 years, the organization has been holding a tricky tray to raise funds to help these families.
“All the gifts for the night are donated. Some people give us money and we’ll buy the gifts for them but most just donate the gifts,” Corey Richardson, chairwoman and board of director’s member, said. “We’ll have somewhere around 400 people come out and it’s usually a steady crowd throughout the night.”
The organization’s story began in 1986 when a young child by the name of Joey Bella was diagnosed with Acute Lymphatic Leukemia. Unfortunately, Bella passed away while waiting for a bone marrow transplant. Since then, the organization has been helping families in similar situations.
Events such as the tricky tray and annual “Band Beer and Beefsteak” dinner allow the organization to provide those funds.
“All the money from these events go to families in need. None of the money goes to any of the volunteers and that money helps families in need buy things that insurance doesn’t always cover,” Richardson said.
In addition to providing financial relief, the Joey Bella Memorial Fund has completed projects to improve the living conditions for children with medical needs, such as fitting vans and homes with wheelchair-accessible accommodations.
Tricky tray prizes included televisions, art pieces, home décor, and many other items spread out over four long tables. After paying an entrance fee, attendees were gives a sheet of tickets that they could place in any bucket to be in the running each prize.
It’s the great cause and fun prizes that keep people coming back year after year.
“We’ve been coming to this for at least ten years, if not more,” Lisa Gallagher said. “It’s for a good cause, they always have good prizes, and it’s just a good atmosphere to be a part of.”
“We’ve been at the tricky tray for the last years and we keep coming back because we want to win but it’s also to support a good cause,” Pam Bell said.
People were in their seats well before winning ticket numbers were announced but everyone quieted down as the first prizes started to be called. Following each calling, the crowd would cheer as the winner went up to collect their prize.
Be sure to check out the website for more information on the Joey Bella Memorial Fund and future fundraisers.