Distinguished Guests • Among the 2018 GADD honorees are, from left, Guy Pue, Client Achievement Award; Lynn Opdyke, Audrey Edelhauser and Gigi Opdyke, Light of Hope Award for Ocean County; Mary Lee, Light of Hope Award for Monmouth County; Margo Hooker, Humanitarian Award, and Dolores Burke and Fran Stinsman, representing Sacred Heart Parish, Riverton.  Courtesy photo

Distinguished Guests • Among the 2018 GADD honorees are, from left, Guy Pue, Client Achievement Award; Lynn Opdyke, Audrey Edelhauser and Gigi Opdyke, Light of Hope Award for Ocean County; Mary Lee, Light of Hope Award for Monmouth County; Margo Hooker, Humanitarian Award, and Dolores Burke and Fran Stinsman, representing Sacred Heart Parish, Riverton.  Courtesy photo

From staff reports

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton will hold its 29th annual Guardian Angel Dinner Dance Sept. 22 in the Hyatt Regency, Princeton.

The celebration is a salute to those who have positively impacted Catholic Charities’ ability to meet the needs of the poor and vulnerable. It is also the signature CCDOT fundraiser, raising much-needed funds to support the 100,000 people the organization serves annually, regardless of religious affiliation.

“Our mission to improve the quality of life of individuals and families, especially the poor and vulnerable, assumes urgency each time we encounter the individuals and families that come to us for assistance,” said Marlene Laó-Collins, CCDOT executive director.

“They are overwhelmed and are trying to overcome homelessness, hunger, addiction, domestic violence and other crises,” she continued. “We rely on the kindness and generosity of donors to help us restore their hope and get them on the right path to recovery and sustainability. We welcome you to come join us at this benefit, which celebrates those who do so much to help us be successful in our mission.”

Several people and organizations will be honored during the gala for their work on behalf of the region’s citizens in need.

The Richard J. Hughes, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton Humanitarian Award will be presented to an outstanding leader who is committed to humanitarian causes, is a devoted advocate of Catholic Charities and the betterment of humanity in general, and compassionately strives to improve the quality of life of people across all economic and social lines.

The Light of Hope Award honors a person or organization in Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties for his/her support and commitment to the work of Catholic Charities in the community. The Corporate Citizen of the Year Award recognizes a business that partners and supports Catholic Charities’ goals and mission.

“We are so proud to be a part of this great organization and to be part of this event to honor these wonderful community volunteers,” said Rachelle St. Phard, who is co-chairing the organizing committee with her husband Vladimir. “It takes folks like these to move Catholic Charities’ mission forward. We would not be able to help as many without their efforts.”

Those wishing to attend the gala, sponsor a table, advertise in the event’s program journal or otherwise support Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton, can visit CatholicCharitiesTrenton.org or contact Charissa Buskirk at 609-394-5181, ext. 1159.

The Guardian Angel honorees are:

Paul J. and Margo Hooker of Sea Girt: Richard J. Hughes, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton Humanitarian Award.

Sacred Heart Parish, Riverton: Light of Hope Award for Burlington County.

St. Paul Parish, Princeton: Light of Hope Award for Mercer County.

Mary Lee of Lincroft: Light of Hope Award for Monmouth County.

Opdyke’s Furniture Inc.: Light of Hope Award for Ocean County.

J. Knipper and Company, Inc.: Corporate Citizen of the Year.

Guy Pue: Client Achievement Award.