eijah rodriguez make a day

Elijah Rodriguez (second from left) at Make a Difference Day National Award Ceremony 

UNION BEACH, NJ - Gateway Church of Christ is the recipient of a donation of $10,000 thanks to the efforts of Elijah Rodriguez.  Elijah held a fundraiser on Make a Differences Day in 2013 to raise money for the Union Beach church so that more families could be helped in their recovery after Hurricane Sandy.  Elijah’s project raised over $8,000 back in October but his gift has kept on giving.  On Thursday, April 10, Elijah’s walkathon was one of fourteen projects honored at USA Weekend’s Make a Difference Day Awards Ceremony.  Newman’s Own honored Elijah by donating $10,000 to Gateway Church of Christ in Union Beach.  Elijah wasn’t the only Monmouth County native to be honored. Jon Bon Jovi was also an award recipient for his Soul Foundation.


Elijah, a Junior at Christian Brother’s Academy and 2011 graduate of Mother Teresa Regional School, was inspired to make a difference after spending time volunteering in Union Beach after Hurricane Sandy.  Last summer he began making plans for the walkathon held on the National Make a Difference Day.  Soliciting the help of the school’s jazz band, fellow students, and community members, the walkathon was a great success for the community. 

“I was honored to be recognized by USA Weekend but even more excited to hear the Newman’s Own was donating an additional $10,000 to Union Beach.  Now even more families will be assisted in their recovery.” explained Elijah.  Gateway Church of Christ, which has been helping families in Union Beach since the storm, used Elijah’s first donation to help three families pour a foundation for their new homes. The money donated by Newman’s Own will be put to good use with more families in assisting in their recovery.

For more information on how to assist families in Union Beach visit www.gatewaynj.com and for more information on the Newman’s Own donation visit www.newmansownfoundation.org.