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Table of Hope. (Photo: Table of Hope).

The O’Toole Chronicles: A Time for Giving

By Kevin O'Toole, November 23 2021 12:01 am

“Table of Hope was founded by the members of Bethel Church in Morristown. In September 2013 we began to serve meals five nights a week to anyone in need of a warm meal and a smile. It has since become a place where “Hope Starts and the Community Gathers to Share.” Every week we serve hundreds of hot meals to go from our soup kitchen and distribute groceries to thousands of local families at our food pantries. The need has become so great since the pandemic, that we have moved our pantry operation outside and increased our food distribution tenfold in Morristown alone! We have also expanded our operations with a Mobile Food Pantry serving our neighbors throughout Morris County.Your $10,000 donation provides 350 families with groceries and supports a total of over 1,000 individuals for groceries for 1 month!”  — Teresa E. Williams, Executive Director, Table of Hope

While I was taking my morning walk, I reflected on this past year and the start of the holiday season.  Most are busily preparing, overjoyed to see family this week and partake in a phenomenal Thanksgiving feast.  However, this year there has to be more to life than turkeys, stuffing, and long overdue family reunions.

To that point, our entire O’Toole Scrivo law firm recently participated in seasonal giving that I wanted to share. I have long told others that it is in this spirit of giving that I truly feel that I am receiving something magnificent. With a charitable giving, I, like many others, receive this feeling inside that is beyond description, beyond words, and beyond comparison. To those of us captured in the eddy of a giving, we feel for a moment that we are taking part in something wonderful, something meaningful, and something special. That feeling stays in the atmosphere, lingering for a while and, if we are lucky, inspires others to participate in this giving.

Some context is needed.

Each year, Tom Scrivo and I sit around our law firm’s main conference room table with our employees, and we talk about our plans for charitable giving. This year, much like last year, the group decided to move forward to provide funds for as many food banks as possible. The start of the Covid pandemic really opened the collective eyes of the OS family and motivated us to help those less fortunate than us.

During this year, we sponsored a large number of fundraisers for phenomenal causes – Dollars for Scholars, Autism New Jersey, American Cancer, Project Linus, LGBTQ Center, Volunteer Lawyers for Justice, American Lung, Police Widow and Children’s Fund, Morristown Medical Foundation, and many others.  We are honored to donate hard dollars to dozens and dozens of area causes and continue to do so. However, this year the urge to give on a more granular level permeated throughout our office.

Enter the Food Banks.

While there are so many great causes, there is something organic about providing dollars that go directly to purchase much needed food to our fellow human beings.  Over the last two years, it has been difficult to witness more and more working class families struggle to make ends meet. Due to these hardships, many of these families were forced to take a once unimaginable trip to a nearby food bank, and they did this simply just to put food on the kitchen table. Humbling stuff to make that walk.

This year we asked some corporate partners to match us in the giving and the reception could not have been better. In some instances, the corporate partners matched us dollar for dollar. Others offered to join us as we volunteered our time serving the needy.

I am proud to report that this year’s giving was a major success. We are confident that this collective giving will be something that that makes a tangible difference in some lives. I wanted to share the names of needy food banks with this audience and hopefully that will motivate others to give, even if it means giving one single dollar to a needy food bank.

We started the giving locally:

The Sharing Place in Jersey City(https://www.thesharingplacenj.org/);
Table of Hope, Morristown (https://www.springstreetcdc.org/table-of-hope);
The Food Bank in New York City (https://www.foodbanknyc.org/);

Then we moved to other states in which we travel:

Forgotten Harvest in Michigan (https://www.forgottenharvest.org/);
Chicago Food Bank (https://www.chicagosfoodbank.org/);
Community Action Program of Central Arkansas (https://capcainc.org/);
Inter- Faith Food Shuttle in North Carolina, Houston Food Bank (https://www.foodshuttle.org/);
New Horizon’s Soup Kitchen in Manchester, New Hampshire (https://www.fitnh.org/services/food-programs/)

And we aren’t done for the year so please join us.  We drove or flew our employees to all of these food banks and not only personally delivered the checks, but we also talked with the amazing staff and those in need. A Kodak picture could not possibly capture the joy, emotion and beauty of just being there.  So if you cannot donate your dollars, consider donating your time.

By Thanksgiving Day, our goal is to have over $100,000 in donations flow into these wonderful organizations. Virtually every dollar donated goes to meals for the needy. Magically, for every dollar given to these places they can convert that into 3 meals. Imagine that – a $5,000 donation provides for 15,000 meals.

Let me close by saying that today is Giving Tuesday and I ask you to make the effort join in on the special day.  You do not need to give to a food bank, just give to any charity and feel good doing it.

Thank you and enjoy your Thanksgiving!

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