SOUTH ORANGE, NJ  - Jespy House held its 18th Annual Community Appreciation Dinner on Thursday, June 29 at Above Restaurant and Bar in South Orange.

This year was the seventh consecutive time that Jespy House held its Community Appreciation night at Above Restaurant and Bar. 

Tara Roberts, Jespy's Marketing and Community Relations Liaison, welcomed everyone, and reminisced about the first Appreciation event when they served home-made tuna and egg salad sandwiches at Jespy's Milligan Place location. She mentioned that the two recipients of the awards that year the South Orange Fire Department and Peter Polo, Sr. whose son, Peter Polo, Jr. is currently a Jespy House board member.

Sign Up for E-News

Roberts thanked Above Restaurant for their ongoing support, as well as thanking all in attendance for their many contributions to Jespy House. Roberts told the crowd "you are what make Jespy House successful and welcoming."

Three employers were recognized for their support of Jespy House: Walmart of Union, Turtle Back Zoo, and Richards Manufacturing.

Also recognized at the event was Ahadi Bugg-Levine, who volunteers countless hours to Jespy House in many ways, including press relations.

Butch Larkin, who is also known as the "dancing traffic cop," was thanked for all of his help and for providing pedestrian safety to Jespy House clients.

The final award of the evening was given to Muriel Bowness, Health Education/Registered Nurse who has been with Jespy House for 17 years, and retired on June 30 in recognition of her many contributions to the organization.

South Orange Village President Sheena Collum shared that during her years as a student at Seton Hall University and as a resident of South Orange she was not aware of Jespy House, and only learned about the organization when she became Village President.

Collum added that when Audrey Winkler reaches out for help for the clients, she tries to fulfil those requests from making traffic adjustments to finding affordable housing, and that the Village Trustees will help fight against the cuts to Medicaid which will impact directly many Jespy clients. "We will fight for all who need help," said Collum.

Jespy House is entering its 40th year in South Orange, and Mitchell Rottenstreich, Jespy House Director of Operations, shared “it takes a village to raise an organization, and it takes a village to help Jespy thrive and live."