More than 280 people attended Homefirst’s second annual Evening of Thanks at Galloping Hill Golf Club in Kenilworth on Thursday, October 30.  Donors, staff, community partners, and religious leaders came together to recognize and honor individuals from different communities in Union County who have served families in need in extraordinary ways in their civic and private lives.  Guests at the event enjoyed a cocktail hour with music performed by students from the New Jersey Workshop for the Arts (NJWA) followed by dinner and a live and silent auction. Homefirst premiered their original video entitled “Voices of Our Youth,” which highlights the success stories of three teens who have benefited from the services that Homefirst offers to vulnerable families and youth throughout Union County. Casey Woodruff, Homefirst Board President, served as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening and Rabbi Charles Kroloff of Westfield served as the Honorary Event Chair. 

Ellen McGovern, MSW, LCSW, Executive Director of Homefirst, remarked, "It was wonderful to have so many people come together in the spirit of giving to support our mission to end homelessness. We at Homefirst are grateful to our many friends -- donors, volunteers, elected officials – whose support allows us to continue to serve the homeless families in Union County."

Award recipients included Deacon Jerry Bongiovanni of St. James the Apostle Parish Community in Springfield, Marilyn Ryan of The Parish Community of St. Helen in Westfield, Lorraine Wearley of the Unitarian Church in Summit, Rabbi Joel Abraham of Temple Sholom in Scotch Plains, and former Homefirst Board President, Karen Moore of Grace Episcopal Church in Plainfield.  Sponsors of the event included Prudential Financial Inc., Bramnick, Rodriguez, Mitterhoff, Grabas & Woodward, LLC, Ellen Catlin, TAPinto.net, Amy Yin Interiors, Steven and Marybeth Lapham and Casey and Priscilla Woodruff.

Established in 1986 in Plainfield, Homefirst delivers comprehensive solutions to homelessness by providing transitional and permanent housing, homeless prevention assistance and family support services.  Working with a diverse coalition of partners, including community groups, religious congregations, foundations, businesses, nonprofits, government agencies and volunteers, Homefirst is a leader in Central New Jersey in assisting families experiencing homelessness and in preventing homelessness.  Homefirst uses innovative national models to give families the tools and the resources they need to overcome adversity and develop self-sufficiency.  The agency builds strong communities – one family at a time.  For more information on Homefirst please visit Homefirstinc.org.