MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ: It was March 16th when Governor Murphy implemented aggressive social distancing measures to mitigate the further spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey. That was also the day that thousands in our community were forced into unemployment creating an extremely difficult financial situation for many households in Monmouth County and around the state.

As NJ unemployment reached an all-time high, people also struggled with the emotional stress due to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, many of the non-profit organizations that were normally there to support those in need, had to close their doors. That’s when HFCF (formerly Hope for Children Foundation/ www.hfcf.org) went to work and got creative in order to assist those in need while abiding by the quarantine and keeping safe for their families. 

Over the years HFCF has been an innovator in uniting the charities in order to have a larger impact in our community.  Well that is exactly what HFCF has continued to do during this pandemic and it has proved vital. During the initial stages of self-isolation, Executive Director and Co-Founder Marybeth Walz Pritzlaff worked direct with county and state resources as well as other non-profits to make sure that all families in need were addressed.

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“Whether the families came through HFCF or other nonprofit organizations, we did everything in our power to ensure everyone in need was being covered with the essentials. We initiated a program of "adopting" local families to help bridge the gap due to Covid.  We also complied and distributed a list of resources to those in need as well as other non-profits in the state, so everyone knew what resources were open and available for support. “ stated Marybeth Pritzlaff.

In the meantime, Executive Board Member Kristie Taplow who is also a local social worker in Monmouth County, worked closely with the school system and The RAINE Foundation to ensure that children and families from local school systems were provided with meals and essentials.  “ There were so many generous supporters that helped to make all of this possible” stated Kristie.  “Osteria Cucina in Marlboro, Palms Plaza Catering, and Infinate AV Solutions were a few of the many local businesses that donated their time and services. The Puma Family, The Pesce Family, and the Arena Family- all of Holmdel also stepped up donating funds, putting together meals and making deliveries to those in need.  In a time of such uncertainty, it’s so nice to have HFCF’s loyal supporters not only donate funds but help us help others.

While Marybeth and Kristie were coordinating with nonprofits, children and families- Co-Founders Karen and Eric Hinds partnered with Linda Lautenberg and the team of FLAG-Holmdel/Middletown.

FLAG (Front Line Appreciation Group) is a group dedicated to helping to feed our front line and health care workers during the coronavirus pandemic while also keeping our local restaurants in business.

Karen Hinds said “Working with Linda and FLAG has been a great way to give back to the local restaurants’ who are always so generous to the nonprofits, while at the same time supporting the front-line workers that are risking their lives during this pandemic.“

Over the time that HFCF worked with FLAG, HFCF established a FLAG fundraiser and matched donations raising over $20,000 in just one day. There were many donors that assisted in the efforts however The Chropuvka family of Holmdel stood out as they generously donated enough funds to The HFCF and FLAG alliance to provide dozens of meals for local workers.  In total FLAG raised almost $50,000 on that one day, which went directly to the local restaurants, the front-line workers, and those in need in our community.

In hopes this pandemic will continue to slow down, however the board of HFCF will not. They continue to work with the people, non-profits and our community to ensure that they do all they can to assist our neighbors during this time.  “ During the last 17 years with HFCF, I have experienced some of the most incredible situations. Being able to assist those in need during difficult times, working with the other nonprofits and just making a difference in our community has been incredible. If you have not worked in philanthropy, I suggest you try it. Even if you don’t have the financial means, talent and time goes a long way.  Trust me, it makes the world of difference not only in other’s lives, but in your own.” Eric Hinds (President HFCF)

For more information on HFCF please visit www.hfcf.org.