Giving Back

Piscataway's Memorial Day Family Event Raises Awareness for Homeless Veterans

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Joseph Iturriaga of Hope for Veterans and Community Hope Credits: Kenneth Simmons
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Life-sized Jenga sets Credits: Kenneth Simmons
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Parkgoers create Memorial Day themed arts and crafts and other activities Credits: Kenneth Simmons
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A few of the games available at Piscataway's First Memorial Day Family Event Credits: Kenneth Simmons
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Members of the Piscataway Rotary Club and Piscataway Library Credits: Kenneth Simmons
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Area Businesses Team Up with Hope for Veterans to host Piscataway's First 'Memorial Day Family Event' Credits: Kenneth Simmons
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Area Businesses Team Up with Hope for Veterans to host Piscataway's First 'Memorial Day Family Event' Credits: Kenneth Simmons
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Members of the Piscataway Rotary Club Credits: Kenneth Simmons
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PISCATAWAY, NJ - Memorial Day commemorations for the area's fallen military heroes, veterans and those who currently serve in the armed forces did not stop after the last fire truck and ambulance made their way along the parade route on the Monday holiday.

At 12:30, members of the Piscataway Rotary Club teamed up with the Piscataway Library and Hope for Veterans/Community Hope to host the town's first ever Memorial Day Family Event at Quibbletown Park off of Academy Street.

The free event featured a commemoration to veterans, and families were invited to enjoy children's stories, an inflatable bounce-house, face painting, and to create Memorial Day themed crafts. 

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Different types of games could be played, including bean bag tosses and life-sized Jenga sets made from 12-pack boxes of Pepsi soda. And supporters could write letters at the Thank-a-Veteran letter station and dance to the music spun by a local DJ service.

"The township did a survey that said people wanted to do something after the parade was over, so we were asked to put together an event like this," said Fred Cassady, an officer with the Piscataway Rotary who mentioned how thrilled organizers were about the number of people who came out to the event.

"This is the first time we've partnered with a community group like the Piscataway Rotary," said Joseph Iturriaga, a case manager with Hope for Veterans and Community Hope, supportive services organizations that help veterans and their families address issues that could lead them to becoming homeless.

"We were concerned about the rain since it picked up mid-morning," the Piscataway resident said about the turn-out to the early afternoon event. "But it cleared and people started to come out."

Visitors could drop off toiletries, non-perishable foods, and household items such as dish and laundry detergents, diapers, baby wipes, and gift cards to grocery stores or gas stations, all to be donated to area veterans in need and their families.

"We're excited because Liberty Mutual decided to donate $5 to Community Hope for every referral they write today for insurance services," said Iturriaga."We didn't expect that but we are really grateful."

Other Piscataway businesses that helped support the Family Event included Striker Realty, Provident Bank, Investors Bank, REA Agency Realty, Financial Resources Federal Credit Union, and Binsky Home Service, and Pepsi and Saker ShopRites which donated the food and drinks.

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