Union County News

Elizabeth Coalition Announces Honorees for Annual Benefit for Homeless and At-risk Youth

Catherine Felegi
Catherine Hart
Tina Earley
Mary Gibbons-Wooten

ELIZABETH, NJ ---The Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless has announced their 2017 annual reception, affectionately titled “There’s No Place Like Home,” on Wednesday, May 17 at the Grand Summit Hotel in Summit, NJ. Proceeds from the event will go towards Bernice’s Place, an after-school and summer program for homeless and at-risk children. Honorees include: Catherine Hart, Housing Authority of the City of Elizabeth; Tina Earley, Elizabethtown Gas; Catherine Felegi, First Presbyterian Church of Cranford; and Mary Gibbons-Wooten, Elberon Development Group. These esteemed women have exemplified the mission and values of the Coalition and have made a valuable impact on the community. For this reason, the Coalition has chosen to recognize their work and personal efforts at this year’s event.

Bernice’s Place buses children out of shelters and provides temporary housing, giving them a safe, fun and supportive environment where they can socialize with other children of similar backgrounds. In many cases, these children benefit from meeting their peers and build long lasting friendships. 

“While in our program, children receive a healthy meal and snack.  For many of our participants, this meal and the school lunches are the only meals they eat on any given day,” states Linda Flores-Tober, executive director of the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless. “In the summer months, when school is out, these meals are even more meaningful to the children and their families, which is why we need to put Bernice’s Place at the forefront of our initiatives.”

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The Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless uses a holistic approach to assisting families through these difficult times. Whether the family needs rental assistance to keep their home, transitional housing to save up for another home, or assistance in developing their resume and finding a job, the staff provides hands on support every step of the way.

“To be chosen to receive an award by an organization such as the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless is an honor within itself,” says Mary Gibbons-Wooten, this year’s recipient of the Spirit of Joanie Award. “As a social worker, my passion is very much centered on working with at-risk populations. It’s imperative to have initiatives like Bernice’s Place to provide safe and supportive environments for children to study, have fun and really see that they are not alone.”

This year’s reception has several options for sponsorship and support, but the overall goal and message is to heighten public awareness and understanding of the gravity and impact homelessness has on the population.

“Elizabethtown Gas is committed to making a difference in the communities we are privileged to serve,” says Tina Earley, this year’s recipient of the Founder’s Award for Corporate Responsibility. “We take pride in our efforts to ensure that children and families have access to a safe home, quality education, employment, and life changing resources.”

This year’s reception will feature local corporations, officials, and stakeholders to fuel the conversation and drive support. Union County Sheriff Joe Cryan will return as this year’s special emcee for the event. Tickets to the event start at $75.00. For full details on this year’s reception, sponsorship, and ticket information CLICK HERE.

About Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless:

Since 1981, the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless has served the immediate needs of the homeless and near homeless in Union County. Their work has empowered families to transition to safe, affordable, and permanent housing. In addition, they teach people to self-advocate so they can lead healthy and productive lives.

For more information about the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless, visit: www.theelizabethcoalition.org

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