Jackie Goedesky, president and founder of Hands of Hope, had high praise for the Middlesex High School community for the role it played in helping to collect winter coats, hats, scarves and gloves for children in need.
“I hope that the students and the parents that participated in the coat drive really know how helpful they have been and how they have rescued some children from the cold,” Goedesky said. “It’s very easy for some of us to walk into a store and say, ‘Oh, my child needs another coat,’ but it’s very difficult when you are struggling to feed your family to find the money for another coat. We did not have a large turnout of (donated) children’s coats (before the Blue Jays got involved), so Middlesex High School came to our rescue. Without them, we would have had minimal coats for distribution.”
A nonprofit that operates out of St. James Episcopal Church in Edison and is committed to providing an efficient and centralized system for distributing food to alleviate hunger in Middlesex County, Hands of Hope also has provided coats to children in need throughout the county for the past two decades.
Hands of Hope will distribute the coats to Middlesex County children in need at its Edison-based headquarters located on 2136 Woodbridge Ave. from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, and will make any extra coats available throughout the winter season.
Middlesex collected the items at the two entrances to its football stadium at an Oct. 20 home game during which the Blue Jays had a bevy of activities already scheduled including Senior Night, a Pink Out for cancer awareness and the distribution of state championship rings to the high school’s baseball team in a halftime ceremony.
“On behalf of The Marisa Tufaro Foundation, we can’t thank the Middlesex school-community enough for its willingness to partner with us to collect coats for children in need,” said Cyndi Tufaro, the foundation’s president, who had the privilege of meeting schools superintendent Dr. Linda Madison on the night of the Oct. 20 game and who was touched by the district’s generosity.
Middlesex High School Athletics Director Mike O’Donnell was instrumental in initiating and helping to set up the coat drive, which could not have been accomplished without his assistance.
“Middlesex is a great community,” O’Donnell said. “They always come together in times of need, and we’ve seen several examples of that. As a community, we are happy to help Hands of Hope, as well as The Marisa Tufaro Foundation, to provide whatever we can to support those in need.”
The Marisa Tufaro Foundation’s mission of assisting children in need throughout the greater Middlesex County area coincides with that of Hands of Hope.
“Too often we are so intent on our own world that we forget that there are children that are living in a world that we will never know,” Goedesky said. “If you can touch just one person, you’ve made the world a little better.”