By Mary Stadnyk | Associate Editor
The Good Counsel Home Fund Raising Banquet, to be held in Lucien’s Manor, Berlin, Oct. 26, will provide an opportunity for a special celebration of 40 “birth” days.
That day, staff, friends and supporters of Good Counsel Homes-South Jersey, will use the occasion to joyfully commemorate the 40 babies who have been born since the facility opened in Riverside in April 2010. Located in the former convent on the grounds of Resurrection Parish, Delran, Good Counsel Homes-South Jersey has served as a haven to single, homeless pregnant women and their children.
“Good Counsel is a family for those in need, serving God,” said JoAnn DiNoia, who works with development and fundraising on the Good Counsel-South Jersey staff. “Our Lord’s call to serve the disadvantaged compels us to advocate on behalf of single mothers and their children to offer love, shelter and the opportunity to grow in self respect and independence.”
DiNoia reflected on how Good Counsel Homes-South Jersey provides round-the-clock care with a staff comprised of a full-time house manager, case manager, childcare supervisor and other workers. There is also a core of some 30 volunteers who step up to assist with an array of duties that range from organizing donations to tending to childcare needs and watching the babies while their mothers participate in the Life Skills program that’s offered in the evening. Life Skills classes are offered on parenting, nutrition, chastity, health, budgeting and social skills.
DiNoia noted that the home is currently “blessed” to have 10 mothers, eight babies and two toddlers. The background of the mothers vary, she said, noting that there are mothers enrolled in Harris Business School, some who are working toward teaching certification, one who is enrolled in a culinary school and one former resident who was one of 50 applicants who began nursing school in Lourdes School of Nursing in September.
Good Counsel Home-South Jersey also has an Exodus program in which staff members “follow our mothers who have successfully achieved independent living for at least a year after they leave us,” DiNoia said.
As a non-profit agency that is totally supported by donations, two major fundraisers are held each year including the annual banquet that’s held each October and a walk-a-thon held in the spring. Individuals and priests in both the Trenton and Camden Dioceses have continued to support GCH through the agency’s “Baby Bottle Appeal” which is conducted in parishes. DiNoia noted that St. Luke Parish, Toms River, has been the most successful in conducting the “Baby Bottle Appeal,” raising $14,283. All the appeal involves is having parishioners “taking a baby bottle home for a couple of weeks, filling it up with money and returning it to their parish. The collection does not involve a parish “taking up a second collection.”
Of the upcoming gala, DiNoia said it is the hope that more than $110,000 is raised for Good Counsel Home-South Jersey. Supporters will hear a keynote address by Msgr. Michael Mannion, director of community relations for the Diocese of Camden, and the evening will also pay tribute to Franciscan Friar of the Renewal Benedict Groeschel who co-founded Good Counsel Home along with Chris Bell and helped to open the first facility in New York some 30 years ago.
Reservations for the banquet are required. Contact DiNoia at 609-387-2928 for a personal invitation and for dinner selection. A free will offering will be taken during dinner.[[In-content Ad]]