Night Under the Stars Fundraiser

| 18 Apr 2019 | 10:02

    Summary - A local woman started a non-profit called "Coupons for Community" in 2009 and it has grown exponentially and provided food and supplies through volunteer help and fundraising. They're hoping members of the community come to their annual fundraiser on May 2.
    SPARTA - Coupons for Community is holding a Night Under the Stars Fundraiser. Tickets are available now and cost $60 per person.
    The annual fundraiser is hosted by Connect for the Community and will be held at 6-9 p.m. at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, 246 Woodport Rd., in Sparta.
    The event is for adults only.
    In November of 2009 Suzanne Stigers founded “Coupons for Community” and it has grown to have more than 30 volunteers meeting on a weekly basis. CFC uses donated manufacturer coupons and volunteers shop for 40 food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, domestic abuse facilities and social service agencies in 6 counties in northern New Jersey. CFC volunteers conduct fundraisers and over the last 9 years and used thousands of coupons CFC to purchase more than $700,000-worth of food and toiletries for about $150,000.
    In 2010 CFC adapted the “100th Day of School” program to show children what 100 pennies can buy. Students are asked to bring in one toiletry item we use every day, items not covered by food stamps, yet necessities in life. Numbers have risen each year with 50 schools participating in 2017 across 6 counties in northern New Jersey and 1 in Harlem, NY.
    In 2010 CFC started the “Harvest for Community” program where local farmers donate their surplus of fresh produce on a weekly basis and CFC volunteers pick up and deliver the donations.
    In 2010 CFC started the “Seasonal Events” program where CFC volunteers shop for items for over 1,000 Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets. CFC volunteers host an annual “Toy Giveaway” that distributes gifts to hundreds of children in need from Dover, NJ to Children’s Hospital of New Jersey in Newark. CFC volunteers provide Easter baskets to about 100 families. In 2010 CFC started lending support to multiple “Children’s Summer Lunch Programs." CFC partners with local food pantries and soup kitchens to provide school children who would normally have their lunch available at school, but do not during the summer months, to provide these children with extra food and toiletries.
    2011 CFC started “Cooking with Coupons," so families in a homeless shelter learn how to shop with coupons, budget their money and cook healthy meals. The goal is to teach a family of four, living on food stamps, how to eat for $50 or less a week. Hundreds of families have gained the life skill to budget their limited income, cook healthier meals and shop with coupons.
    In 2013 CFC started “Cuts for Community," partnering with local hair stylists to provide free haircuts to children and adults in conjunction with their Cooking with Coupons and Backpacks for Community events. Each year, hundreds of people have been able to take advantage of this service.
    2013 CFC started “Backpacks for Community."
    CFC incorporated as a nonprofit agency in October of 2010 and in 2011 became an official 501(c)(3) charity. In December of 2014, CFC opened its first Connect for Community Center in Sparta, NJ. CFC is committed to the basic human right that all people should have access to food, personal hygiene and household products in an atmosphere of dignity and self-respect.
    CFC believes no donation or amount of support is too small to make a difference. CFC donations can mean the difference between a parent getting a job or not, or a child being ridiculed at school because of lack of hygiene due to the lack of toiletries in the home. When people are able to practice good hygiene and eating habits, the result is fewer long-term health and dental issues.