PHOTO: The collaborative efforts of the RBR SOURCE and BUC Backer Foundation provided specially requested gifts for 34 RBR families that would not have otherwise celebrated such a fortunate holiday. Pictured (left to right) are: Buc Backer Giving Tree Coordinator Claire Harbeck Izzo, SOURCE Youth Development Specialist Lori Lopez and SOURCE Director Suzanne Keller, with just a few of the gifts donated by the greater RBR community.
LITTLE SILVER, NJ - Ever since the devastation of Sandy in 2012, where many Red Bank Regional (RBR) families lost so much, The RBR SOURCE has teamed with the RBR BUC Backer Foundation to address the needs of the most vulnerable of their own community during the holidays in a project known as the Giving Tree. This year was no exception. Over 34 RBR families were given over 125 gifts via donations of the greater Red Bank Regional Community. The SOURCE is RBR’s School-Based Youth Services Program whose mission is to remove all obstacles that impede students’ academic success.
“Not everyone has the means to afford the gift giving that occurs around the holiday season,” RBR SOURCE Director Suzanne Keller comments. “Our staff identifies the needs of our students and their families and provides a list to the BUC Backer Foundation who advertises it to their members.”
BUC Backer Giving Tree coordinator Claire Harbeck Izzo explains that the gift donations are organized by an electronic list to which RBR BUC Backer members sign up. They purchase and wrap the gifts which are given out at school or delivered to the students’ homes by the SOURCE staff. Everyone’s identity remains anonymous to the donor.
“I am always impressed by the ask,” Claire Harbeck Izzo explains. “They ask for coats and shoes and really just basic needs including baby supplies.”
The SOURCE addresses their students’ needs all year long, including with the stocking of a food and school supply pantry. The SOURCE Foundation continually fundraises to support the SOURCE and their services to the RBR community, which ranges from quality mental health counseling to learning support initiatives. This is accomplished by offering services free of charge to students and their families including; individual, group and family counseling, preventative medical and dental care, academic support, scholarship opportunities, and recreational and cultural events.
Donations are always needed and welcome and can be made via THE SOURCE Facebook page.