Sons of Italy: Working Together to Make a Difference

Councilman Frank Neglia, 1st VP Joseph Jannarone Jr., Mayor James Barberio, Robin M. Hughes, 2nd VP Michael Fazzio, Carolyn Lake, and President Robert Adamo

PARSIPPANY — The August monthly meeting of Morris County Lodge 2561 of the Sons of Italy included a visit by representatives from two of the organization’s multiple charitable partners, JBWS (Morris County’s Domestic Violence agency), and the Interfaith Food Pantry Network.

Crisis Response Team Manager, Robin M. Hughes, DVS

Representing JBWS was Crisis Response Team Manager, Robin M. Hughes, DVS, who addressed the Lodge, passionately addressing her organization’s role in helping those victims affected by domestic violence.

Ms. Hughes noted that despite the apparent affluence in Morris County, it is not immune from this violent issue. In fact, JBWS has responded to over seven hundred cases of domestic abuse already this year, and seventy cases alone this month. It is estimated that as much as 1 in 4 people suffer from some form of abuse related issues and just do not talk about it for various reasons. It is a serious and important problem that is necessary to address, and Ms. Hughes has been putting her heart and soul into working with and collaborating with police agencies and victims for the past 26 years. Ms. Hughes stated that she herself had been the victim of domestic violence, so she understands the problem, and has devoted herself to “giving people hope.”

Parsippany-Troy Hills Mayor James Barberio and Robin M. Hughes, DVS. Crisis Response Team Manager for JBWS

“If I do everything I can do to help these victims then I can sleep at night” stated Ms. Hughes. She continued, “Donations such as these from the Sons of Italy affords them the opportunity to do the job.”

The Helpline number for JBWS is (973) 267-4763 /1-877-R-U-ABUSED.

Ms. Carolyn Lake, the Executive Director of the Interfaith Food Pantry Network

1st V.P. Joseph Jannarone Jr., who serves as Committee Chairperson for the Fundraising/Philanthropic arm of Lodge 2561, along with Lodge 2561 President Robert Adamo, presented Ms. Hughes a generous donation to assist JBWS continue its efforts on behalf of the Sons of Italy. Jannarone’s responsibilities, which he has done for 20 years, involves the oversight and distribution of the Lodge’s charitable donations, while working hand in hand with the Lodge’s multiple charitable partners.

Following, was an equally powerful presentation by Ms. Carolyn Lake, the Executive Director of the Interfaith Food Pantry Network, headquartered out of Morris Plains. Ms. Lake in an impassioned presentation enlightened the assemble group as to the significant problem of food insecurity plaguing a surprising number of families in the Morris area. It is estimated that as much as 32 percent of working families are struggling with nutritional issues, not to mention senior citizens, whose numbers have blown up since COVID. Ms. Lake stated that those in need are served by two pantries, one in Morris Plains and one in Morristown, as well as a Mobile Pantry.

Ms. Lake explained that the goal of the Interfaith Food Pantry is not only to deal with hunger, but to address a myriad of nutritional issues that affect 40 percent of those served by the Pantry. The organization’s goal is to educate those in need, including seniors, on proper nutrition and appropriate foods to stay healthy. Ms. Lake proudly stated that “85 percent of those they serve are getting healthier because of this education.”  In her closing remarks Ms. Lake stressed, “Our mission is to promote health and well-being of Morris County residents. We need the community involved and volunteers are critical to our success. And, of course, we are always looking for contributions.”

Mrs. Lake was presented with a donation from 2nd V.P. Michael Fazzio and President Robert Adamo

Ms. Lake was also presented with a generous donation from the Lodge in their continuing long-time support. Presenting the donation was 2nd V.P. Michael Fazzio and President Robert Adamo. Fazzio is a longtime volunteer and commits a lot of personal time assisting at the Interfaith Food Pantry.

Lodge President Adamo ended the presentations by thanking both guests for enlightening the group on what they do, and stating, “Our problems seem small in comparison to what others must deal with. It is rewarding to help the less fortunate, and I am proud of the part the Sons of Italy plays in cooperatively working with all our charitable partners as we continue to actively serve Morris County.”

Want to help? JBWS can be reached at (973) 267-7520 ext. 229, and the Interfaith Food Pantry at (973) 538-8049 ext. 211.

Future charitable endeavors coming up for the Sons of Italy-Lodge 2561 include a Wine Tasting Evening the Lodge is co-sponsoring with the Kiwanis at the Hanover Manor on October 20 and their Annual Beefsteak and Comedy Night on November 19 at the Bloomingdale Fire Headquarters. More information on both those events will be available shortly. Check out the Sons of Italy-Lodge 2561 website at www.soi.2561, and/or on their Facebook page.

Robin M. Hughes, DVS. Crisis Response Team Manager for JBWS with Joe Jannarone,Jr.