Mt. Olive Online Publication December 28 2020
Mt. Olive Online Publication December 28 2020
Three Mt. Olive students participated in a sweet gesture last month when they joined their youth group in creating treat packages for senior citizens.
Ryan Melendez, a sophomore at Mt. Olive High School, his sister Katelyn Melendez, a MOHS freshman, and their brother Justyn, a fifth grader at Mt. View Elementary School in Flanders, joined the Temple Shalom Youth Group in Succasunna in collecting and assembling items for the cheer packages. Their efforts were part of a larger initiative: The JCC Metro West Mitzvah of the Moment.
“The program was to create Treat Packages and spread some joy to local seniors who have been isolated at home due to COVID19,” explains Michelle Melendez of Flanders, mother of the three local youth group participants.
“The goal was to fill zip lock bags with sweet items and put a hand written card to express their well wishes and fit a safe and healthy holiday,” she says.
Held Nov. 5 through Nov. 17, the Melendez children helped to collect a bag full of sweet snacks such as chocolates, granola bars, cookies, Biscotti and raisins.
A “Mitzvah” in Judaism is a good deed. This “Mitzvah answers the Jewish responsibility to care for the elderly and the isolated,” explains the Melendez family.
“During COVID, many of us have felt isolated but once COVID is over we will go back to our normal lives,” says the Melendez siblings. “Many elderly may have already been limited in their ability to go out. COVID, more than likely, stopped much of their social interactions and travel. The packages are a small gesture for families to show the elderly they are thought of with some sweet surprises included.”
The goal of the JCC Metro West Mitzvah of the Moment was to collect a total of 500 sweet bags, says the Melendez trio. The Temple Shalom Youth Group, along with the Melendez kids, dropped off a total of 61 bags.
Each bag included six to eight treats along with a “hand-written card wishing them a safe and healthy holiday.”
The packages were distributed to eight different senior homes and programs throughout Greater MetroWest including Jewish Family Service of Central N.J., JCC of Central N.J., JCC of MetroWest, Daughters of Israel, and several Jewish Community Housing Corporation housing sites including: Lester Senior Housing, Jewish Federation Plaza, South Orange B’Nai Brith Federation House, and Village Apartments of the Jewish Federation.
Denise DiPiano and Irene Sergonis while loading donations.
By Cheryl Conway
As the pandemic continues, so does the growing need to feed those who are hungry.
On the first Saturday of every month, the Mt. Olive Democrats will be collecting food to help fill the shelves of local food pantries. The group launched the initiative last weekend with a great start.
The Mt. Olive Democrats held a successful Holiday Food Drive on Saturday, December 5, at Turkey Brook Park in Budd Lake. The event was complemented by a fundraiser which will provide additional funding for food supplies.
This event was the first in a series of drives to help eliminate hunger in the Mt. Olive community. Many families are living through difficult times and are working through financial or health-related issues. Food drives offer support to those in need to help maintain healthy diets for their families.
“Food drives and our community food pantries are essential to meeting the needs of our community, especially with the impact of the pandemic,” says Andy Meissner, chair of the Mt. Olive Democrats.
“Ensuring families have food on the table, access to healthcare and opportunities to get ahead are some of the core beliefs of the Mt. Olive Democrats,” said Meissner.
Volunteers working at the event included Irene Sergonis, Sergio Sergonis, Denise DiPiano, and Andy Meissner who welcomed donors who brought canned goods, cleaning products and personal care items.
The food was donated to two local food pantries: Abiding Peace Lutheran Church Food Pantry in Budd Lake, and the Mt. Olive Food Pantry located at the Christ Episcopal Church in Budd Lake.
Sergio Sergonis' truck that was used to keep all donations safe and dry, and to deliver all of donations.
Among the items most in need were ketchup, mayonnaise, cooking oil, cake mixes and frosting, and pet food. Although Mother Nature brought rain and strong winds, all donations were kept safe and dry in a large truck provided by the Sergonis family.
The group also received more than $800 in donations that will be split between the two food pantries.
Group volunteers plan to hold food drives monthly on the first Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to noon at Turkey Brook Park. This provides an opportunity to donate food at a convenient place and time each month. Everyone coming to enjoy the park on these days are invited to drop off a donation of any kind, organizers say.
There will also be an opportunity to register to vote for anyone who needs to do so.
For more information on the Mt. Olive Democrats, including upcoming events and how to participate or contribute, visit www.mountolivedemocrats.org
Hanukka Lights Bright Up The Area
Close to 50 people gathered at the Gazebo Park in Chester last night, Thursday, Dec. 10, at 6:30 p.m. to celebrate the first night of Hanukka. Lighting of the giant electric menora took place, along with donuts, gelt, dreidels and Jewish music.
Another community celebration is set for Sunday, Dec. 13, at 5 p.m., at the corner of Main and Moore streets in Hackettstown.
For more information, visit www.mychabadcenter.com
Photo by Skylar Conway
Letters From Santa Accepted
Mt. Olive Township plans to collect letters for Santa this year. If parents would like their child to receive a response from Santa, please visit the Santa House located at Turkey Brook Park, 30 Flanders Road, Budd Lake.
Starting Friday, December 4, there will be a mailbox just for Letters to Santa. Please make sure to include a return address so that Santa can deliver a letter to the child.
All letters must be received no later than Sunday, December 20.
Please note this is ONLY for Mt. Olive residents.
Please Note: Due to restrictions being placed from COVID 19, there will be no community holiday events planned in Mt. Olive Twp. this year. This includes the annual Community Menorah Lighting Celebration and the Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony.
The Hackettstown Rotary Club recently held a Virtual Harvest Paint and Sip Event recently under the instruction of Kerry Howard of Artstitution. Thirty six individuals participated and $540 were raised for The Himalayan Cataract Project. These funds will pay for 22 cataract surgeries in the countries of Nepal, Ethiopia, Ghana, Bhutan, India, Myanmar and Rwanda. The Himalayan Cataract Project is an initiative that is supported by Rotary International.
“This has been a challenging time for fundraising for Hackettstown Rotary Club, and I am sure other service organizations, due to current restrictions and safety issues,” says Laurie Rapisardi, president. “I am so pleased that one of our Rotary members, Dr. Linda Poisseroux, chaired this event and provided us with the ability to raise money for The Himalayan Cataract Project. It was a fun night where attendees connected with each other and created unique paintings that they can cherish for years to come.”
The Hackettstown Rotary Club plans to hold another Virtual Paint and Sip Event in Spring 2021.
About The Himalayan Cataract Project
Two ophthalmologists, Dr. Sanduk Ruit and Dr. Geoff Tabin, started the Himalayan Cataract Project to fulfill their personal goals of eradicating as much unnecessary blindness in their lifetimes as possible.
Drs. Ruit and Tabin have proven that hospital quality standards can be applied in poor areas lacking electricity and clean water. Their inventive approach and dogged perseverance made what 20 years ago was considered impossible – possible. Today Himalayan Cataract Project reaches the most unreachable patients wherever its services are needed.
About Hackettstown Rotary Club
The 1.2 million-member organization started with the vision of one man—Paul P. Harris. The Chicago attorney formed one of the world’s first service organizations, the Rotary Club of Chicago, on 23 February 1905 as a place where professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships. Rotary’s name came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of each member.
Becoming a Rotarian connects people with a diverse group of professionals who share a drive to give back. The Hackettstown Rotary Club meets weekly and discusses ways and creates programs to better the community.
Morris County issued 426 emergency kits, each containing four shelf-stable meals and a first aid kit, to seniors and adults with disabilities in a two-week outreach effort.
The effort began on Nov. 23, when 305 emergency preparedness starter kits were handed out during a special event at the Morris County Library targeting people with disabilities and seniors age 60 and older. An additional 121 kits were subsequently delivered over the past two weeks to homebound residents in partnership with the MAPS paratransit system, Norwescap, and the non-profit organization POWER (People Organized Working Evolving Reaching).
The campaign was sponsored by Morris County's Office on Aging, Disabilities, & Community Programming.
"This distribution of shelf-stable meals and first-aid kits helped more than 400 of our more vulnerable residents prepare for winter emergencies,” said Morris County Freeholder Kathryn DeFillippo, the board liaison to Human Services agencies. “We are grateful for the courage it took them to step out and ask for our help, not only in terms of meals, but also to our Navigating Hope team which was standing by with referrals to social services programs. Reaching out is an act of strength, and we’re here to help, especially in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”
Navigating Hope, Morris County's mobile social services vehicle, was on site at the initial distribution of the kits last month. Social workers provided many of the people with access to the Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled Program or PAAD, as well as Medicaid applications. They also referred individuals to other programs, such as food pantries, senior housing, home-delivered meals and Assurance Wireless, which is a federal lifeline assistance program providing eligible low-income individuals free phones, monthly phone data, unlimited texting and free monthly minutes.
Morris County offers a wide range of ways to help our most vulnerable residents:
Morris County Stigma Free initiative: morriscountystigmafree.org; Navigating Hope mobile social services vehicle which offers critical support for persons struggling with addiction, with the goal of preventing drug overdoses and deaths. Free NARCAN training is offered at stops. The link offers the schedule of stops, phone and email contacts and additional resources; NJ Hope and Healing counseling and discussion groups in Morris County; Morris County's Office on Aging, Disabilities, & Community Programming.
Morris County’s Office on Aging, Disabilities, and Community Programming has partnered with Atlantic Health System to provide and administer flu shots to homebound seniors and adults with disabilities at no cost to the recipients.
Supplies are limited, and to qualify for a shot recipients must be Morris County residents, homebound, 60 years of age or older, or a homebound individual with a disability who is between the ages of 18 and 59. Flu shots are important to populations such as seniors and people with disabilities, who are more vulnerable to the flu, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Providing at home services, such as this, is especially important for our seniors during these times, as it minimizes potential exposures for the most vulnerable population,” says Christine Hellyer, director of the Morris County Office on Aging, Disabilities, and Community Programming. “The CDC recommends a yearly flu shot, and it is even more important this year as it may decrease the risk of co-infection to this high risk population.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also contends flu shots are this year are critical.
“Routine vaccination prevents illnesses that lead to unnecessary medical visits, hospitalizations and further strain the healthcare system. For the 2020-2021 influenza season, influenza vaccination will be paramount to reduce the impact of respiratory illnesses attributed to influenza in the population and resulting burdens on the healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the CDC warns on its website.
The flu shots are part of an ongoing effort in Morris County to connect seniors and adults with disabilities to community resources during the pandemic.
“We began to receive calls from seniors requesting options for flu shots administered in the home,” Hellyer explains. “When we reached out to public health nurses and community providers, we found few resources for this requested service. The Office on Aging then sought out to partner with an organization to provide this service to seniors who are homebound or were concerned with going to a clinic or their doctor’s office during the pandemic.”
Providing at home services is especially important for seniors during the pandemic because it minimizes the potential their exposure to the virus. Offering the option to have the flu shot administered by a trusted partner such as Atlantic Health also allows for a sense of relief for those who are unable to get to a provider.
To request an appointment for a flu shot, call Solangel Patarroyo at 973-971-7259 or reach out through email at: Solangel.Patarroyo@atlantichealth.org.
Library Goes Virtual For Kids
Virtual Storytime: Do your kids miss Storytime and coming to the library? Tune in Monday through Friday to see all of the Children's Room Librarians reading stories on Facebook and Instagram.
Library Open For Curbside Pickup
The Mt. Olive Public Library is open for curbside pickup.
Requests can only be made via phone call or email.
There is a limit of six items for adults and eight for kids and young adults.
Patrons will be called once their items are available for pickup.
Bags will be placed outside of the library, marked with the last four digits of the patrons card number
Due to COVID-19, patrons may not enter library.
No books will be left outside the building after curbside hours.
Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Thursday: 4 p.m.-8 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Closed on Sunday.
For questions email: firstname.lastname@example.org; call 973-691-8686 ext.106.
Last Thursday, Dec. 3, the Mt. Olive Area Executive Council completed its 25th annual business holiday food drive supporting the Mt. Olive Food Pantry.
“As the chairperson, I want to thank and recognize this year’s volunteers: Jeff Stadelman, Billy Lockwood, Richard Moore, Brian Ropp, John Mooney, Yaritaz Miranda, Chuck Aaron, Claudia Ehrgott, and Susan Morse for helping with another successful donation of food and cash to the MO Pantry supporting the community in need,” says Mt. Olive Twp. Councilman Gregory W. Stewart, chair of the Mt. Olive Community Holiday Food Drive.
“With such a challenging year for our residents and business community, the Mt. Olive Business community continued to support the annual efforts of the Mt. Olive-EDC, Mt. Olive Area Chamber of Commerce and the Kiwanis Club of Mt. Olive, as we worked with Givaudan, Robertet, Siemens, Coherent, Veolia, Nisivoccia, CBRE Real-estate, and the many retail and small-business firms located in the ITC and throughout Mt. Olive who supported this year’s efforts,” adds Stewart.
The MO Area Executive Council is presented in partnership by the MO Economic Development Committee & The Mt. Olive Area Chamber of Commerce, supporting the larger employers in the greater Mt. Olive area, by focusing on the issues, our key decision makers identify.
Participating firms include: Givaudan Fragrance, Robertet USA, Veolia NA, Siemens-Healthineers, Fratelli-Beretta USA, Holiday Inn of Budd Lake, Centenary University, County College of Morris, First Energy (JCP&L), Hackettstown Medical Center) , MC EDC, MO-EDC, MOACC, MO Township Administration.
“Green Gourd,” a colored pencil drawing by Tammy S. Mcentee, recipient of Best in Show in the New Jersey Art Association’s most recent juried show.
County College of Morris (CCM) in Randolph is hosting a virtual exhibition of works from the New Jersey Art Association’s most recent juried show.
Featured in the show are creative pieces by more than 35 artists from New Jersey, including paintings, watercolors, photographs and mixed media. To view the exhibition, go to www.ccm.edu/njaa-exhibition/.
Tammy S. McEntee of Bernardsville, received Best in Show for her colored pencil drawing “Green Gourd.”
Presented with Awards of Excellence were Chas Palminteri, of Parsippany, for his acrylic painting “Xango ll” and Paula Pearl, of Fanwood, for her oil painting “Wave Study.”
Awards of Merit were given to Richard William Haynes, of Fairfield, for his gouache painting “After The Rain” and Kat Block, of Springfield, for her mixed media work “The Day Breaks.”
Honorable Mentions were presented to Leina'Ala Schwartz, of Mendham, for her oil painting “California Fire,” June Fisher-Markowitz, of Wayne, for her watercolor “New Baby,” and Justin Brubaker, of Morristown, for his oil painting “Day's End.”
Hrvoje Slovenc, professor of photography at CCM, served as judge and curator for the exhibition. Slovenc is a Croatian-American artist, who holds a master’s in biochemistry from the University of Zagreb, Croatia, and an MFA in photography from Yale University. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, and the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb. He has exhibited at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Munchner Stadtmuseum in Munich, the Museum of New Art in Detroit and the Young Artists' Biennial in Bucharest, Romania.
County College of Morris (CCM) in Randolph has both federal and state grant funds for students to help them stay on track with their higher education.
Federal CARES dollars are available for students, who are currently registered at CCM, to cover a wide range of expenses so they can move forward with a high-quality education. Those dollars can be used by those impacted by the pandemic to cover such expenses as tuition, technology, housing, child care and more. Those who previously received CARES funds also may apply again due to continued pandemic related hardship. To review eligibility requirements and to apply, goto www.ccm.edu/admissions/financialaid/ccmcares-studentemergencygrant/.
Along with those funds, CCM each year awards approximately $26 million in financial aid and scholarships to its students allowing them to pursue a high-quality college education at an affordable price. Included among those funds is the Community College Opportunity Grant, provided by the State of New Jersey, that offers free tuition to eligible students. To find out more about the funding provided through the Office of Financial Aid and CCM Foundation, visit www.ccm.edu/admissions/financialaid/.
“Given the amount of money CCM has available to help with a higher education, there has never been a better time to go to college,” said Dr. Bette Simmons, vice president of Student Development and Enrollment Management. “We like to tell students this is not the time for a gap year but a time to take advantage of the funding we have so they can keep moving forward to realize their dreams for a better future.”
CCM is currently enrolling for the 2021 Spring Semester. As with the 2020 Fall Semester, classes in the spring are being held in three formats: hybrid with some on-campus time and the rest online, as remote classes with set days and times to login and as online classes where students can pick the days and times to do their classwork. For more information on the Sprint Semester, go to www.ccm.edu/spring-2021.
Transfer or Gain Employment Upon Graduation
At CCM, students can choose from 100 programs of study. A number of programs, such as those in computer science, engineering, and hospitality and culinary science, are designed so students can seek employment immediately upon graduation. Numerous others are specifically designed so students can transfer their credits to earn a bachelor’s degree. CCM holds more than 165 agreements with colleges and universities across New Jersey and the nation to simplify the transfer process. A listing of those agreements can be found at https://tinyurl.com/ybpy9qqy/.
County College of Morris (CCM) in Randolph is providing students with a number of options for how they can take their courses this Spring semester so they can keep moving forward with their higher education.
The college currently is enrolling students for the spring and has built in a high level of flexibly to make it easier for them to pursue their goals. Students enrolling this spring will be able to select courses that are being offered in one of three formats: hybrid, online and remote.
Hybrid courses consist of a combination of traditional face-to-face instruction and remote or online sessions. This may include some on-campus labs with remote lecture, reduced in-classroom time or other instructional designs that meet the needs of the course materials.
Remote courses are similar to those taught in a classroom in that they require students to meet online with their professor on specific days and times.
Online courses do not require students to log in on specific days and times, allowing them to set their own schedule for performing their classwork.
To limit the number of people on campus, the majority of classes are being offered in the online and remote formats.
Students enrolling this spring also can select from a number of terms, ranging from 2 week to 15 week sessions. Students can search for courses and the format they prefer at https://titansdirect.ccm.edu/Student/Courses/.
New students first need to apply to the college before registering for classes. For more information, go to www.ccm.edu/spring-2021/.
Students dedicate their community service to victims of the 9/11 attacks on the National Day of Service; Centenary University’s chapter of Soles4Souls collected shoes and visited a warehouse where donations are sorted and shipped to needy recipients; Centenary students participated in a Zoom session to create thank you cards for veterans; Centenary University hosted food drives to assist area residents; Centenary University students helped to build a home with Warren County Habitat for Humanity.
Community service is strong at Centenary University this fall, as students and event organizers find creative new ways to present opportunities to help others. Through virtual and in-person events, the university has offered a robust calendar of service events through specific academic courses, as well as Centenary’s clubs, organizations, and athletic teams.
This semester, the university provided students with the option of attending classes in-person, online, or in a HyFlex format combining on ground and virtual instruction through its new Centenary Choice program. Community Engagement Coordinator Rachel Danitz said service opportunities followed a similar format that respects the individual comfort levels of students while fostering a strong connection between students studying virtually and in person.
Almost 300 students participated in service projects this fall through courses, clubs, and organizations, according to Danitz, who noted that Centenary athletics teams also organized service events this semester. Of the 73 students participating through her office, 44 were first-time volunteers. In addition, 63 percent of participants volunteered virtually.
“I’ve been surprised at how enthusiastic students have been for the virtual service events we’ve offered, since many have to spend so much time online for their classes,” Danitz said. “A number of fully-remote students whom I’ve never worked with have engaged in service this year. Virtual opportunities with our community partners are now available that we’ve never had before.”
While the university’s organizations offered a host of more traditional in-person service opportunities—from a Habitat for Humanity build, a river cleanup, and voter registration drives to collecting donations of food, coats, toiletries, shoes, and clothing—virtual options offered new ways to serve others. Throughout the semester, Centenary students volunteered to send thank you cards to veterans and first responders, participated in pre-Election Day text banking to get out the vote, and became more knowledgeable about voting issues through the Virtual Voter Education Challenge.
In addition, a number of Centenary professors incorporated service learning into their courses to foster stronger community connections. Students in an English course taught by Associate Professor of English Dr. Robert Battistini worked with the League of Women Voters on a community postcard campaign to encourage area residents to vote, while education students taught by Assistant Professor of Education Lexis McCoy organized virtual story times and prepared educational resources to assist teachers and parents with homeschooling during the pandemic. In addition, Assistant Professor of English Dr. Carol Barnett’s English students created a mentorship program, complete with virtual storybooks, for students at a local charter school.
While Danitz hopes that the end of the pandemic will again create more in-person opportunities for service, she does believe that the virtual component will remain important. With the university’s spring break canceled due to the pandemic, plans are already underway for Centenary students to participate in HyFlex winter service opportunities with community partners in January.
During the spring semester, Assistant Professor of Biology James Monks, D.C.’s science students will also mentor and provide supplemental learning materials to science students at Hackettstown High School.
“Service brings so much meaning and depth to the college experience,” Danitz said. “The shift to virtual platforms has opened up even more opportunities for our students. This pandemic has been unlike anything we’ve ever experienced, but it’s also pushed us to innovate in ways we never dreamed possible. The beneficiaries of that creativity have been our students and community partners, whom we’re so proud to work with.”
Submitted by Diane Lang, positive living expert, life coach, speaker.
We all have been hurt, probably much more than once. If you're human, you have felt the hurt, anger. We have all felt the sadness when someone breaks your trust, and you feel betrayed. Trust can be broken in any type of relationship- family, couples, friendships and they all cause pain and suffering. The question is: Can I trust this person again?
That is a hard question to answer and it's very individual, but there are some things you should think about before you make the decision: “To trust or not to trust.”
As you think about this hard decision, there is no guarantee that someone will not hurt you again. That is what makes it so scary. Learning to trust again is risky. Forgiveness is also a process; it does not happen overnight. If you plan on trying to keep the relationship and forgive, be realistic about it. Do not expect a miracle, you will have triggers and trust is earned, it will take time.
Ask yourself if you could trust the person enough to give the relationship a second chance? Is this relationship worth the investment of your time and energy?
Consider the relationship before the mistrust. Is this a one-time incident? Or does it happen frequently? Is it a pattern?
Is the person who hurt you planning on making a change, so it does not happen again? Did they learn from the mistake? Are they feeling bad and asking for you to forgive them? Or are they blaming you? Are they holding themselves accountable? If they do not recognize their wrongdoing, they will not change. Self-awareness is key.
Do they want to change? Even people who know what they did are wrong and own it, do not always want to change. Change is scary.
You must do what is best for you. You can get advice from others but in the end, you will have to do the best thing for you. If you decide to try again in the relationship, there are ways you can help to build the trust.
Six Ways to Building Trust
Be true to your word – if you say you will do something, then do it! Trust goes two ways in any relationship. This also means saying “No” when you can’t or don’t want to do something. If we say yes, when we mean no, we either feel resentful, do it half fast or cancel at the last minute. This causes more anger and frustration.
Communicate – Poor or no communication at all is the reason why relationships do not work out. Communicate what you expect, want, and need. Be a good active and empathetic listener.
Consistency - we build trust when there are people who are present in your life consistently. Showing up and being there for the good and the bad.
Honesty- always be honest. Lying will tear down any relationship instantly.
Do not hide your feelings – being vulnerable builds trust. Acknowledging and being empathetic to someone else’s feelings builds trust.
Apologies - if you apologize for hurting someone and promise to change then change! The worst is giving an apology that is not genuine and not putting the effort into changing the behavior and fixing the issue. This means admitting/acknowledging your wrongdoing, apologizing, and offering ways to fix the issue. Keep your promises!
Experienced journalist since 1990, living in Flanders for 22 years and covering Mt. Olive Township for the past 12 years.
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