Bergen Volunteers Buzz
March 2021
What is the Buzz?
Bergen Volunteers Buzz is our newsletter highlighting organizational news, events, updates, and volunteer opportunities. Look out for our newsletter at the beginning of every month to stay connected with your friends at Bergen Volunteers!
Note From Nina

It is hard to believe that six months have already passed since I became the CEO of Bergen Volunteers. Being at the helm of Bergen Volunteers has been personally fulfilling and rewarding. I am proud to work alongside our partners and collaborators, as we strengthen the community.
 
Speaking of the good work of Bergen Volunteers, 2021 marks 55 years of exceptional service. We are so proud to be the hub of the community’s social welfare network, matching resources with need - and need with resources. 

We are happy to update you about our programs, organizational changes, and how we are proactively responding to community needs.
As Spring arrives (and so do vaccines), we are reinvigorated to action, service, and hope.

Here’s to another 55 years! 

Warmly,
Nina
Upcoming Events
Friday Forum Reunion
Friday Forum
April 23, 2020
11 am - 12 pm

Save the date for our Friday Forum Reunion.
We know you’ve missed gathering together for our flagship networking events and so have we!

Our first Friday Forum of the year will be delivered virtually on April 23rd. The Friday Forum Reunion will feature breakout sessions, networking, and an opportunity to connect in a FUN, safe, and comfortable manner. Stay tuned for more information and a registration link.

For sponsorship opportunities and ticketing information, contact Elizabeth Reich at ereich@bergenvolunteers.org.
Program Updates
Bergen LEADS
Join Bergen County’s premier leadership program! Bergen LEADS Class of 2022 applications are now available. This dynamic and innovative program consists of seminars from experts across all sectors, interactive workshops, and eye-opening site visits. As a Bergen LEADER, you will learn about yourself, your leadership style, and the community you live/work in. 

View the information packet here. In this packet you will find FAQ’s, tuition information, and a sample application. When ready to complete, access the application here.

Please note that once you fill out your application you can only edit your application on the same computer and within the same browser. 

If you have questions about the application process, contact Debbie Emery at demery@bergenvolunteers.org or 201-489-9454 x202.
Mentoring
Are you or someone you know struggling, isolated, or feeling burdened? Could you or someone you know benefit from having a mentor? The past year has presented us with unprecedented challenges. Our Mentoring Programs are here to help! Our mentors offer guidance, support, and resources.

Short-term mentoring serves:
  • Homebound senior citizens 
  • NEW! Seniors-to-Seniors matches high school seniors with senior citizens
  • High school students
  • Adults

Mentors provide bi-weekly telephone check-ins and conversation. Individuals can enroll on a month-to-month basis.

Long-term mentoring serves:
  • Youth (ages 8-18+)
  • Caregivers (moms, dads, guardians, those caring for elderly parents)
  • First-generation college students

Matches meet every other week for two hours, working on individual and personal goals. Individuals can enroll on an annual basis.

Mentoring benefits include education, healthy behavior, life skills, and much more! All of our mentors are thoroughly screened and have completed a criminal background check as well as our intensive training program. 

To learn more contact Lisa Tredici at 201-489-9454 ext. 208.
Teen LEADS
Ridgewood High School Teen LEADERS are working to develop social media content, organize food/gift card drives, and coordinate gift bags for local food pantries and senior centers. Over the last month the students created over 150 gift bags with chocolate treats and cards to deliver to the Ridgecrest Senior Housing Center in Ridgewood. The cards were created in English, Spanish and Korean, based on the primary languages of the residents. Ridgecrest residents were overjoyed to receive the gift bags. Thank you to Sue Ullrich, Community Coordinator for Ridgecrest who helped foster the partnership.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program is in full swing at Bergen Volunteers. The VITA program offers free basic tax return preparation services to qualified individuals, including:

  • Bergen County residents
  • Individuals whose income levels are $57,000 or less
  • Individuals with disabilities
  • English-language learners

Due to the current pandemic, Bergen Volunteers is utilizing a hybrid system with regulated in-person document drop-offs and scheduled virtual sessions. To determine eligibility for services, potential tax clients should contact Debbie Emery at demery@bergenvolunteers.org or 201-489-9454 x202 to coordinate an appointment.
Volunteer Opportunities
Technology-savvy volunteers are in high demand. Our Get Connected Database has new opportunities for a database volunteer, website assistant, and newsletter coordinator.

If any of these volunteer opportunities interest you please reach out to Melissa at melissal@bergenvolunteers.org or 201-489-9454, ext. 206.

View listings of upcoming nonprofit events and volunteer opportunities on our Bergen Volunteers Events Page here.


Making-It-Home is seeking volunteers with the time and “muscle” to help with our moves! This unique program powers up the generosity of volunteers to collect gently-used furniture from Bergen County residents and bring it to formerly homeless individuals and families leaving emergency shelters and moving to empty apartments. Help us make their house a safe, comfortable, and healthy home! 

For more information contact Cynthia Massarsky at 201.289.8444 or cmassarsky@bergenvolunteers.org.

Become a Bergen Volunteers Ambassador!
Bergen Volunteers Community Ambassadors needed to help relay information about programs and activities at Bergen Volunteers through their social media connections (i.e. municipal pages, Moms or Parents groups, civic groups). 

If you want to be part of this outreach effort, please contact Debbie Emery at demery@bergenvolunteers.org.
Agency Spotlight:
Food Brigade
The mission of The Food Brigade is to ensure that no child or adult in New Jersey goes hungry. Their primary service is to provide food, whether in the form of prepared meals or fresh and packaged foods, to families and individuals in need. They accomplish their mission by building and operating a network of providers and volunteers who assist in the acquisition, transport, preparation, distribution, and delivery of meals and food to those in need.

Learn about their current volunteer opportunities here.
Donor Spotlight:
Bergen Volunteers would like to highlight Margaret “Peggy” Martini of Bogota, who passed away peacefully on December 24th, 2020.

Peggy’s commitment to helping others was evident from an early age. At 18 she was part of a work study program for the Northport High School, where she received an award for her dedication and excellence in her performance as a secretary and seeing the program through. Her dedication to the community continued into her career, working as an assistant for the Office of the Bergen County Executive and County Police Department. In 2010 she was licensed as a Real Estate Salesperson for Friedberg Properties and in 2015 joined Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty and has been a multiple recipient of the Circle of Excellence Award.

Peggy was very involved with her church community of Saint Joseph’s R. C. Church as a Eucharistic Minister, visiting the sick and an active volunteer in Parish School PTA as a class mother. She passionately cared about helping the less fortunate, volunteering with Bergen Volunteers’s All Wrapped Up Program, Meals on Wheels, and helping the Center for Food Action, feeding those who needed support the most.

Peggy is survived by her loving husband, Chuck. As a tribute to Peggy he recently donated to Bergen Volunteers’s Mentoring program in honor of Peggy and her dedication to service. We thank Peggy and Chuck for their generous contribution and belief in our organization. 
Our hearts are heavy as we give our sincere condolences to Chuck, and their two sons and daughters-in-law, Edward and Kristen and Michael and Sally Ann, Peggy’s sister, Deborah Reed, her two sisters-in-law, Mary Gallione and Nancy Martini and four grandchildren, Zachary, Stella, Tyler and Ryan.

Make an impact today and support
our CHEER clients!
Richard, CHEER Client
Many of our CHEER clients are on fixed incomes and receive SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits to purchase food at the grocery store. 

Did you know that the SNAP program does not cover prepared food, vitamins, soaps, paper products, household supplies, grooming items, toothpaste, and many other necessities?

A $50.00 gift card to ShopRite will help our CHEER clients purchase essentials that SNAP does not cover.
Looking for Ways to Give?
Do you have questions about any of the ways to donate to Bergen Volunteers?
If so, please contact Elizabeth at ereich@bergenvolunteers.org.
Bergen Volunteers
www.bergenvolunteers.org