CLINTON, N.J. – Unity Bank President & CEO James A. Hughesand Vice President of Marketing Rosemary Fellner traded the corporate office of the bank’s Old Route 22 headquarters for a cardboard box on June 1. They left the Annual Box City fundraiser inspired by those joining forces with Family Promise of Hunterdon County to help the homeless.
“We were fortunate in that we had good weather and only had to sleep on a cardboard bed for one night,” said Hughes. “We also camped out in a place where we were welcome and there was plenty to eat and drink. Things are rarely that comfortable for the homeless, but, all the same, it was inspiring to see all the people in our community who came together to try and make a difference.”
Unity Bank has been the title sponsor of Family Promise of Hunterdon County’s Annual Box City for the last three years, but this was the first time staff spent the night. The fundraiser, held on the Hunterdon Central High School practice field in Flemington from 6 p.m. June 1 to 8 a.m. June 2, supports the organization’s services for homeless families and increases awareness about homelessness locally.
“Family Promise of Hunterdon County is an organization that brings together communities, which resonates with our culture as a bank,” said Fellner. “As a community bank, it’s important that we are involved in the community – donating funds, time and raising awareness for important issues. Personally, the event reinforced how important it is to show gratitude, even with all of life’s challenges that we face everyday. I try to keep gratitude in my heart all the time and Box City really motivates me to try and do more to help others.”
Abigail Byers, Executive Director of Family Promise of Hunterdon County, said the event was a huge success, drawing 160 actual participants and raising about $23,000, an increase of roughly 30 percent from the previous year. “We are just thrilled with that and so grateful to everyone who fundraised and donated,” Byers said. “Family Promise is a long-term program of self-sufficiency, not just a temporary shelter.”
The funds raised will help prevent homelessness and provide critically important services and housing for homeless families in Hunterdon County. Those unable to attend the event can still visit the event photo album to get a glimpse of the experience and make donations at www.familypromisehc.org/box-city-2013/.
Family Promise of Hunterdon County, through Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN), provides the county’s only homeless shelter as well as a homeless prevention program. IHN is a community partnership of paid staff and volunteers from a vast network of congregations throughout Hunterdon County. Services include shelter, food, homeless prevention/rapid re-housing, mental health services and after-shelter support.