(Short Hills, NJ) – Good Grief’s sixth annual Great Pumpkin Ball, “Forks, Corks and Cocktails” was held on Friday, October 21st at Canoe Brook Country Club in Short Hills, NJ. The annual gala had 225 attendees and raised $297,000 of much needed funds for the organization’s mission of providing free and unlimited support to children and families following the death of a mother, father, sister, or brother. Good Grief serves over 550 children and families in 180+ communities in the state of New Jersey through its locations in Princeton and Morristown, NJ.
The event featured amazing food and cocktail pairings, a wine tasting table, a silent auction and a wine pull. Great Pumpkin Ball attendees got the opportunity to hear about Good Grief’s programs and the impact they have on the children and families who have suffered a loss. The two guest emcees for the night are both Good Grief participants – Anthony, age 10 and Clara, age 16. Anthony and Clara shared personal stories of how loss and grief has affected them and their families, and about the very important role Good Grief plays in their lives.
Clara came to Good Grief after the loss of her father in 2015. Clara described the importance of Good Grief’s programs. “For the first time since my father died I felt indescribably comfortable. I met people with similar stories and problems. The first thing the teens in my group told me was ‘We are all one person. We all now have a deep connection.’ As crazy as it seemed at the time, I found it to be nothing other than the truth. We understand each other in a way that no one else can. Here we feel safe to be who we really are and express what we really feel. At Good Grief we feel normal.”
Anthony expressed similar feelings about his experiences at Good Grief after he lost his mother, “At Good Grief, I learned we were not alone and sadly many other kids have parents who die. Good Grief helped me learn how to play and help other kids going through this sad loss. I also learned how to help kids feel better by talking because you have to let the feelings out. You can’t hold them all in. Most people don’t know that. My friends didn’t understand, but everyone at Good Grief understands me.”
Good Grief’s essential programs are free of charge to the grieving families, and all funds raised support delivery of its unlimited programming. The average enrollment in Good Grief’s programs is three years. Joseph Primo, the CEO of Good Grief, summed up the evening perfectly. “Yes, these are sad stories and a sad reality we wish no child had to face. But you and I know these realities can’t be wished away. This is a room of people who know and believe that the solution to a devastating loss is not silence and isolation, but compassion, support, and community. Tonight is about all the moms and dads, all the sons and daughters, all the brothers and sisters who need a place to be normal again, to be whole again. Thank you for making Good Grief possible.”
The 2016 Great Pumpkin Ball was a huge success due to the support of its volunteer planning committee and Good Grief’s corporate partners. The Great Pumpkin Ball Planning Committee is comprised of 15 dedicated individuals, who work together to plan, coordinate and host the annual event. The committee is co-chaired by Gala Committee and Board Members, Shelly Haley and Linda Hough.
Corporate sponsors for the event included Celgene, Private Advisor Group, Atlantic Health, Bayer Healthcare, JBK, AmeriHealth, Atlantic Neurosurgical Specialists, Cindy McCollum & Josh Mackoff, The MCJ Amelior Foundation, Princeton Gastroenterology Associates, Princeton Healthcare System, Strawn Arnold and Terabyte Consulting.
Good Grief is respected as a national leader in delivering grief services to children and their families. Since its founding in 2004, Good Grief’s mission has been to provide unlimited and free support to children, teens, young adults, and families after the death of a mother, father, sister, or brother through peer support programs, education, and advocacy. With centers in Morristown and Princeton, New Jersey, Good Grief currently provides support to over 550 participants each month. Good Grief is a registered 501(c) (3) tax-exempt non-profit organization. For more information about Good Grief, please visit our web site www.good-grief.org.
Joseph Primo, CEO Courtney Hodock, Director of Development
908-522-1999 x 8011 609-498-6674 x 8010