JACKSON – The Board of Directors for the Veteran’s Memorial Gardens in the township have recently partnered with HELPSY to add a new and valuable source of revenue toward completing its project.
The partnership will greatly help with the next main phase of construction and maintenance of the memorial park. Three clothing recycling bins have been placed strategically in the park’s main parking lot located at the intersection of Jackson Mills Road and Commodore Boulevard.
The purpose of the bins is not only to prevent unwanted clothes from filling local landfills, but to also provide funds to help support the park. The bins were added last month and are on track to recycle hundreds of pounds of textiles on a monthly basis.
Board President Charles Garofano explained, “We were in the final stretch of construction’s main phase when the pandemic hit and we lost 80% of our funding. Because opportunities for fundraising all but dried up, the Park’s Board of Directors looked to new ways to support the park and found HELPSY.”
“HELPSY, the largest clothing collector in the northeast, has partnered with the Veteran’s Memorial Garden in Jackson to help raise funds for ongoing construction and maintenance of the park,” Laura Johanson, HELPSY Marking/Public Relations Manager said.
The group’s motto is “Clothes Aren’t Trash.” HELPSY partners with organizations across 10 states to collect unwanted clothing and has helped to raise more than $10 million for non-profits and organizations while also helping the environment.
Through a combination of clothing drives, collection bins, thrift store partners and curbside pickups, HELPSY diverts 30 million pounds of textiles from landfills each year.
Army Vietnam veteran Charles Garofano and Marine Corps Vietnam veteran Kenneth Bressi had the idea for the Memorial Park in 2007.
Green said, “they wanted to honor men and women of all five branches of the armed forces, Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Air Force. They created a 501C (3) corporation and with the support of the surrounding communities, veterans organizations and countless individuals, groundbreaking on the 4-acre park began in earnest in 2008.”
Bressi told The Jackson Times “like all organizations we’ve been impacted by the pandemic. We had to cancel our biggest fundraiser, a dinner that we hold each fall. We are moving forward though and we will have our columns being made and they should arrive in June. The company we work with has been very helpful.”
According to Garofano, the memorial garden is truly a grassroots operation. It is staffed by volunteers and 100% of all funds raised go directly to construction and maintenance of the park.
This summer, the next phase of park construction is expected to begin with the planned placement of several monuments. Each monument will be a replica of the Washington Monument with a 17” diameter and three-dimensional bronze plaque with insignia of each of the five military branches.
Residents who are interested in supporting the memorial garden can bring unwanted clothing, shoes, stuffed animals, bedding, towels, table linens and curtains – all bagged clean and dry – to put into the HELPSY Recycling bins.
To purchase a granite bench or an engraved paving stone visit JacksonVetsMemorial.org or contact Charles Garofano at 732-492-3601 or Ken Bressi at 908-692-8817 for additional information. Monetary donations are also accepted.
Jackson Veteran’s Memorial Garden will be holding a poker run fundraiser on June 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The starting/ending location: AMVETS Post 2 – 1290 Toms River Road, Jackson. Registration starts at 9 a.m. $25 for rider, $15 for passenger. Cars are welcome ($25/driver, $15/passenger). Last card in is 2 p.m.
1st Place: $100 Gift Card to HD of Ocean County & $100 Gift Card to Shoreline HD.
2nd Place: $75 Gift Card to HD of Ocean County & $75 Gift Card to Shoreline HD.
3rd Place: $50 Gift Card to HD of Ocean County & $50 Gift Card to Shoreline HD.
Bressi said some vendors will be on site during the day of the event. For those who have questions or need more information, email email@example.com.