NUTLEY, NJ - Nutley Family Service Bureau’s second annual Garden Party held at the Mountsier-Hardie Garden in Nutley attracted over 200 supporters Sunday, Sept. 23. Tickets were $50 in advance and $60 at the door.
Nutley residents Silas Mountsier and Graeme Hardie once again opened up their over two-acre renowned garden for NFSB’s annual fundraiser.
Residents gathered in the gardens enjoying a variety of food from 15 local restaurants and delis, as well as, Nutley Park ShopRite. Six different bands performed including Nutley’s jazz guitar and sax duo Vince Villanueva and Ian Frobose.
Eileen Painter, NFSB executive director delivered a speech towards the middle of the event under the entertainment tent saying Silas Mountsier invited her to the garden two years ago. Painter said it was new and different, unexpected and she was “blown away.” Painter used this example referencing NFSB in the same way.
Painter said the construction at the NFSB Annex, 169 Chestnut St. is almost completed. The building will be equipped with the new food pantry, elevator to be ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant and the Thrift Shop, currently across the street at 172 Chestnut St., will be relocated there.
Painter said when she began her work at NFSB in 2016 only 35 families were receiving their assistance. According to Painter last year they were able to help 90 families. “This year we have 190 households and we are not even scratching the surface,” she said.
“To every person who is struggling, there are people willing to listen at 155 Chestnut St.,” she added.
Painter said the volunteers work hard and “they do it out of the goodness of their heart.”
In separate interviews during the Garden Party NFSB volunteers, staff and board members reflected on what they do for the community.
Ruth Bedford, NFSB lifetime trustee said, “They’ve done a great deal for individuals as well as families and people have been very good supporting this; [NFSB] wouldn’t be in existence without them.” Bedford served as board president in the 1970s.
Board President Vicki Ray said, “NFSB is a beautiful reflection of this wonderful little town.”
Felicia Gardner, licensed social worker and director of clinical services and programming said, “We have blossomed into a dream state of social service and mental health offerings that only could be imagined seven years ago.”
Vincent Fitzgerald, licensed clinical social worker, said, “We take on more interns…and we are teaching them to be social workers and therapists and give them all opportunities to become social workers in the field. Joe Armentano and I train and supervise the interns. [NFSB] has become a teaching ground.” Armentano is also a LCSW and the coordinator of staff development and training.
Theresa Loch, NFSB board secretary said, “I have been with this organization for five years. It really is the most selfless organization that I have ever worked with. Behind it, between the volunteers and the board members, they are the most selfless people who give to an organization that gives to others. It’s something I’m proud to be a part of.”
The Rev. Jill Fenske of Franklin Reformed Church said, “They are very helpful and very represented with the community.”
Mayor Joseph P. Scarpelli said, “NFSB is very important part of our community; over 100 years they have helped those in the community in need with mental health services and now those who need food on the table.”
NFSB is a 100+ year old non-profit organization that that provides mental health counseling and social services to families and individuals, as well as, a food pantry for residents in need, and a Thrift Shop. Their mission is to strengthen the emotional and social well-being of individuals and families through affordable mental health counseling and social service programs. For more information call, 973-667-1884 or visit nutleyfamily.org.
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