7/26/2018 CCDOT sets Guardian Angel Dinner Dance for Sept. 22
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
About the GADD Honorees
Those set to be honored at the Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton’s annual Guardian Angel Dinner Dance Sept. 22 are:
• Paul J. and Margo Hooker of Sea Girt: Richard J. Hughes, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton Humanitarian Award. The Hookers are longtime supporters of Catholic Charities, driven to donate financially for more than 23 years by their passion for social justice. They are active parishioners in St. Mark Parish, Sea Girt, and both taught religious education for more than 15 years in their previous parish, St. Catharine, Holmdel. Margo Hooker is a retired teacher while Paul Hooker is board chairman of luxury linens importer Sferra, a company he owned for more than 35 years, as well as past varsity baseball coach at in Red Bank Catholic High School. In 1990, the couple established RallyCap Sports, a recreational sports program for children and young adults with special needs that now serves more than 200 families in New Jersey, Ohio and Michigan.
• Sacred Heart Parish, Riverton: Light of Hope Award for Burlington County. For decades, countless parishioners from the parish have quietly and anonymously donated money and goods to Burlington Community Services and Catholic Charities’ Providence House Domestic Violence Services in Burlington County. The parish collects canned goods, clothing and other donations, with volunteers making weekly deliveries to Burlington Community Services after Mass. Parishioners also volunteer for the Taste of Burlington, an annual fundraiser now in its 24 year that benefits Providence House.
• St. Paul Parish, Princeton: Light of Hope Award for Mercer County. In St. Paul Parish and School, parishioners and students actively engage in social justice and community service works such as collecting food and backpacks and other school supplies for Catholic Charities’ clients and organize drives whenever a need arises. Students also raise money every Christmas to adopt a Catholic Charities’ family, while parishioners similarly help ensure to provide gifts through hosting a giving tree.
• Mary Lee of Lincroft: Light of Hope Award for Monmouth County. Lee has served on Catholic Charities’ Monmouth County board for 12 years. As chair of the board’s outreach committee, she oversees the collection of donations for virtually every holiday or need, from Easter and Thanksgiving baskets, Christmas gifts and Halloween costumes to school supplies, clothing, diapers and snacks. A retired school nurse, she also organizes gift auctions for several fundraisers each year that benefit Catholic Charities. Mary and Michael, her husband of 35 years, are active members in St. Leo the Great Parish, Lincroft, where Mary Lee runs Caregiving Friends, Ageless in the Lord, an elder-care friendship ministry.
• Opdyke’s Furniture Inc.: Light of Hope Award for Ocean County. Audrey Edelhauser and her sisters-in-law Gigi and Lynn Opdyke own Opdyke Furniture Inc., a business Edelhauser’s grandparents started in 1947. They have hosted an annual Holiday Shoppe in their Point Pleasant store since 2003, donating all ticket proceeds and 10 percent of sales to Catholic Charities Providence House Domestic Violence Services of Ocean County. The event, usually held every October, draws hundreds of supporters and has raised $14,000 to help women and children in crisis. They also put up a Giving Tree, suggesting holiday gifts customers can buy for the mothers staying at Providence House to give to their children.
• J. Knipper and Company, Inc.: Corporate Citizen of the Year. J. Knipper and Company Inc., a Lakewood-based health care marketing and pharmaceutical sampling firm, has donated printing of the Guardian Angel Dinner Dance programs for four years, allowing all revenue generated through ads to support Catholic Charities. Such generosity is second-nature for the firm, which Deacon Jim Knipper (of St. Paul Parish, Princeton) and his father, Joe, founded in 1987. More than half of the company’s 500-plus employees engage in some form of volunteer service on a weekly basis, living out the company’s core “CHART” values of caring, honesty, accountability, respect and trust. The firm also supports programs in Ocean County collecting food for the hungry.
• Guy Pue: Client Achievement Award. As one of more than three million Americans living with schizophrenia and 22 million Americans battling drug addiction, Pue made the courageous choice to start his road to recovery in 2002. With the support of his mother, he sought assistance in Catholic Charities’ Program of Assertive Community Treatment for assistance. He now works as a landscaper, painter and bricklayer, and often assists the PACT team to help others just starting their recovery.
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 Hookerof 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.