Columbia Bank Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey, and Blankets of Hope, have joined forces to make a difference in the lives of the homeless in New Jersey, by wrapping the less fortunate in the comfort of warm blankets. Together, the organizations have delivered 1,440 “Blankets of Hope”, to community members to help uplift spirits and offer compassion. Purchased by the Columbia Bank Foundation, the blankets were distributed to nine Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey chapters, where youths participated in Blankets of Hope’s “Kindness Workshop.” Children were led through an empathy exercise to imagine what it’s like to experience homelessness, then created colorful, handwritten notes of hope, love and encouragement, to pair with each blanket. The heartwarming, inspiring gifts were delivered to local shelters and organizations in need.
Columbia Bank and the Columbia Bank Foundation are always seeking meaningful ways to give back to the New Jersey community. Team members worked together to blend their networks and launch a meaningful, rewarding project. In this case, EVP of Consumer Banking, Allyson Schlesinger, also a board member of the Boys & Girls Clubs in NJ, helped kick off a statewide project by leveraging relationships fostered through community banking.
Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey contributors and blanket recipients are as follows:
Boys & Girls Club in NJ Chapters:
Paterson & Passaic
Shelters/Organizations in Need:
Joesph’s House, Camden, NJ
NJ Family Promise of Morris County, Morristown, NJ
Cumberland Family Shelter, Vineland, NJ
Center for Hope and Safety, Rochelle Park, NJ
Covenant House, Newark, NJ
Eva’s Village, Paterson, NJ
St. Paul’s CDC, Paterson, NJ
York Street Project, Jersey City, NJ
St. Joseph’s Social Service Center/Elizabeth Coalition, Elizabeth, NJ
Currently, approximately 9,000 New Jersey residents are without homes, and due to the pandemic, the number is rising. The Columbia Bank Foundation recognizes now more than ever, its continued commitment to help citizens overcome challenges and gain a renewed sense of hope is paramount. “As one of the largest private giving foundations in the state of New Jersey, the Columbia Bank Foundation is consistently looking for ways to maximize our impact”, said Thomas J. Kemly, President and CEO of Columbia Bank and President of the Columbia Bank Foundation. “Through our partnership with Blankets of Hope we are proud to have provided the Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey with a free kindness workshop and an opportunity to give back. These Blankets of Hope offer life-saving warmth, as well as an encouraging mental health boost to those in need.”