Middletown, N.J. – Every minute, a child somewhere in the world becomes blind, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2011, WHO reported that 285 million people are visually-impaired. Of that number, 39 million are completely blind, and 246 million have moderate to severe visual impairment. The WHO has also predicted that by the year 2020, the numbers could increase to as many as 75 million people worldwide who are fully blind.

     “The statistics are startling and staggering,” noted Rhoda Yucht, executive director of the New Jersey Blind Citizens Association (NJBCA), a non-profit organization which offers advocacy and support services for the blind and visually-impaired. For 102 years, NJBCA, the oldest organization in the state serving those with vision problems, has provided educational programming and training in a comfortable social setting at Camp Happiness, the main headquarters located in the Leonardo section of Middletown. Members participate in diverse activities during the day including the art therapy program, the gardening program, physical fitness sessions, special interest groups, and lots of other activities designed to enhance and improve their quality-of-life through information and socialization. “The services are critical and crucial for those who are dealing with the issues surrounding loss of vision,” Yucht added.

     In order for NJBCA to continue the level of services and support offered to increasing numbers of blind and visually-impaired individuals, the organization will host the Seventh Annual Auto Show & Motorcycle Meet. One of the largest annual fundraisers for the 102-year old charity, the event will be held from 12-4 p.m. in the Middletown Shopping Center, located at the corner of Route 35 North & New Monmouth Road.  The rain date is Sunday, October 14th.

     All classes of vehicles including classic, stock, custom, antique, hot rod, collector, luxury, and imports are welcome, including trucks and motorcycles. The entrance fee is $12 for pre-registered vehicles and $15 for vehicles who register at the show. Pre-registration of three or more vehicles at the same time is $10 for each vehicle. Vehicle registration forms are available on the NJBCA website www.njbca.org. Pre-registrations should be sent to NJBCA prior to October 1st, 2012. The address is 18 Burlington Avenue, Leonardo, N.J. 07737.

     Business sponsorship is available at levels ranging from $100 to $300 and includes half or full-page color advertising in the event journal, recognition at the event, mention in the post-event press release, inclusion in post-event social media posts, and a logo and link on the NJBCA website. Gold-level sponsorships for $300 also include two free show car spaces at the event and a trophy or plaque awarded in the company name. Vendor spaces are available for ONLY $50. Additional opportunities for advertising and in-kind sponsorships are available. Donations of gift certificates and gift cards are especially needed and will be acknowledged in the event journal. Volunteers are also needed on the day of the show to assist with registration, 50-50 sales, and site management and planning. Volunteers do  not need to be NJBCA members. The fun, family event attracts thousands of spectators from Middletown and the surrounding Monmouth County area in addition to car and motorcycle aficionados from around the state. There will be activities for children including costumed characters, a 50-50 raffle, food vendors, business exhibitors, and musical entertainment.

   The Garden State Land Surveyors Alliance (GSLSA), a member organization formed in 1993 to advance and preserve the land surveying profession and to maintain the common good and welfare of land surveyors, is the platinum event sponsor. An ardent supporter of the blind, the GSLSA has been involved with the event since the beginning. “Being able to see is crucial to what we do. As land surveyors, our eyesight is everything,” stated GSLSA Executive Director George Lucas, who added that he cannot imagine what life would be like without the ability to see. “Life is challenging enough for a sighted person, and I think of the added difficulties brought on by blindness. That’s why we support NJBCA. With the isolation that a blind person must experience, I look at the happy faces and listen to the laughter at Camp Happiness and know we are supporting a wonderful cause. That’s says it all,” added Lucas emotionally. Information on the GSLSA is available on the website www.gslsa.com

     Additional sponsors to date include Affinity Federal Credit Union, a gold-level sponsor, Crown Tire; Ameriprise Financial; and Columbia Bank. The event is supported by the Middletown Lions Club, which was chartered in 1946 under Lions International. Lions International is the largest service organization in the world. Lions consider themselves to be ‘Knights of the Blind’ and were personally challenged by Helen Keller to take on the cause of blindness and sight preservation. Information on the Middletown Lions Club is available at www.mlions.org.

     More information is available by contacting NJBCA Executive Director Rhoda Yucht by phone at (732) 291-0878 or by email at [email protected]; Event Chairperson Robert Guijarro at (908) 930-3965 or [email protected]; or Event Coordinator Craig Finnegan at (732) 856-2821 or [email protected]

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...