Giving Back

Lions Club of West Orange Hosts Annual Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser

Mayor Robert Parisi with Chuck Persing, who sold 50-50 raffle tickets for cash prizes and Mets tickets. Credits: Alan Grossman
Staff members from PNC Bank’s Pleasant Valley Way branch gave out items at the event. They were, from left, Luz Ruiz, Evelyn Borges, Andreia Dos Santos, and Zayn Sroya. Credits: Alan Grossman
Jane Degensheim and Caryn Fitzpatrick were among the E.C.H.O. members attending the event. Credits: Alan Grossman
Former Governor Richard Codey with hostess, Maxine Nzegwu. Credits: Alan Grossman
Roger Schneider, dinner chair, with Matt Schwartz, who helped sell raffle tickets. Credits: Alan Grossman

WEST ORANGE, NJ – The Lions Club of West Orange welcomed approximately 200 guests to its annual Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser on Wednesday, where participants enjoyed an evening of food, raffle prizes and socializing with friends and neighbors at the West Orange High School (WOHS) Tarnoff Cafeteria.

Nearly all the proceeds from the event will go toward organizations that help individuals with blindness by providing support, education and services. In addition, the club supports the WOHS Project Graduation to help provide the 2017 graduating class with a productive and drug-free program.

“It is wonderful to see so many people turn out to support our club’s efforts to give back and help others,” said Roger Schneider, chairman of the dinner. “I want to thank our 60 sponsors who supported this event.”

Sign Up for E-News

Among the organizations helping the blind that receive funding from the club are the Eye Institute of New Jersey, the St. Joseph’s School for the Blind, Camp Marcella and Camp Happiness for the Blind, The Seeing Eye in Morristown, New Jersey, and E.C.H.O. (Eyes Closed Hearts Open).

A group from E.C.H.O., which was started in West Orange in 2007, attended this event for the sixth-consecutive year in appreciation of Lions Club’s support. One of E.C.H.O.’s longtime members, Jane Degenshein, said her group appreciated the commitment of the Lions Club to have a fundraiser every year that provides people with eye care, eyeglasses and optical aids.

“We are regular people who can’t see. It’s just a characteristic. It doesn’t define us,” said Degenshein, who added that the group, which has members from throughout northern and central New Jersey, gets together every month for outings.

These outings include enjoying shows at the Papermill Playhouse, bowling and book-club discussions.

Even with their own disabilities, the 30 members of E.C.H.O. give back to the community by participating in the Relay for Life walk to combat cancer and donating Toys for Tots and coats for people living below the poverty line. According to Degenshein, the group collected more than 300 items for these drives last year.

Steve Christiano, who has been a member of the Lions Club of West Orange for 30 years, said that WOHS should be thanked for always allowing the club to hold the fundraiser at the school.

“It’s great to see friends and neighbors come up for a good cause,” he said. “We’re always looking for new club members, and hope more people will join us in our efforts to help charitable organizations that help people with blindness.”

Numerous township officials were in attendance to show their support for this event. Among those who came out were former Governor Richard Codey, Mayor Robert Parisi, Township Council President Joe Krakoviak and council members Jerry Guarino and Susan McCartney.

“This is a great community event that shows how much West Orange cares about people with disabilities who need a helping hand,” said Guarino. “We not only care, we show it with events such as this one.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

West Orange

Deegan Dental Implant Special!

June 19, 2018


Deegan Dental is happy to announce our New Dental Implant Special Offer that will give you a reason to smile! Our New Special Offer, that expires 11/30/2018, covers a single Complete Tooth Replacement (including the Implant, Stock Abutment and E-max Crown) for only $2,200 per Implant; a Great Value ...

CycleBar Livingston Offers 4 Rides for $39

LIVINGSTON, NJ - CycleBar Livingston -- Premium Indoor Cycling -- is offering four rides for $39 for new riders only.

New customers can take advantage of this deal at CycleBar Livingston at 277 Eisenhower Parkway. Call them at 973-261-5647. Visit

Upcoming Events

Fri, June 22, 5:30 PM

Ginny Duenkel Pool, West Orange

West Orange Community Sports & Games Night

Fri, June 22, 8:00 PM

Education Center, West Orange

Night Moves: Evening Guided Zoo Tours

Education Other


Sun, June 24, 11:00 AM


MakerFest 2018

Michael T. McCormick, Jr. Memorial Foundation Donates New Scoreboard to the West Orange PAL Baseball Field

On Sunday, April 15, the West Orange PAL baseball teams began their opening ceremonies of the spring season with a heartfelt dedication of a new scoreboard, donated by the Michael T. McCormick, Jr. Memorial Foundation.  The foundation was created to honor the life of Michael, a lifelong West Orange resident, who tragically died in a car accident on the day after his 19th birthday, Aug.

Mt. Olive Memorial Weekend Tournament: Bringing Baseball Back to West Orange!

“I’ve got to find the right spot”

“Two out rally!”

“Protect the ball”

“You fired up? I’m fired up! I can’t hear you!”

“Breathe!” “Deep breath, reset”

“Whoa..where are you going?? You can’t move”

Just a few of the statements you may have heard this past weekend at the ...

Essex County Turtle Back Zoo Schedules Family Nights and Zoo-vies This Summer

June 21, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Essex County Turtle Back Zoo will have Family Nights with extended evening hours to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays during the months of July and August, with the last admission to the zoo at 8 p.m.

In addition, on Wednesday evenings during July and August, Zoo-vies, featuring animal-related movies, will be shown on the top floor of the Turtle Back Zoo Parking ...

My So-Called Graduation

The last of my children graduated from high school.  


My son and daughter threw their caps high into the air and cheered their liberation from one symbolic institution before contemplating their matriculation into other, much larger institutions significantly further away.  


Or at least far enough away that they won’t be needing rides home from ...

'Half Time' lights up Paper Mill stage

‘Half Time’ turns the tables on aging in gleeful production

By Liz Keill

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other ...