Boston Strong

Last week’s tragedy at the Boston Marathon revealed a dark side of humanity, but also a bright one in the way Americans have come together to help Boston bounce back. Our thoughts are with all in Boston, and out hearts go out to the victims and their families affected by the bombings. Here are a few legitimate ways to help the victims’ families and survivors, according to the Huffington Post.

The Richard Family Fund, in honor of 8-year-old Martin Richard, who was killed during the bombings, his sister, whose leg was amputated, and their mother, Denise, who was also injured.

The LU Lingzi Memorial Scholarship Fund, in honor of 23-year-old Boston University grad student LU Lingzi.

The Jacqui, Paul and JP Recovery Fund, which is collecting donations to cover the medical bills of Jacqui Webb, whose legs were badly injured by shrapnel, her boyfriend, Paul Norden and his brother, JP Norden. The two brothers each lost their right legs from the attack.

The Krystle Campbell Memorial Fund, in honor of the 29-year-old who was killed during the bombings. More information can be found here.

Bucks for Bauman, a fund created to aid in the recovery of Jeff Bauman, a spectator who lost both of his legs during the bombings.

Help for Patrick and Jess, a fund set up for two newlyweds who each lost a leg from the blasts.

Virtual runs—races which individuals can take part in from anywhere—have also been taking place in the past week. This one posted on Active.com is open until Monday, May 27, with all donations going to Boston Marathon victims.

Let’s band together—as runners, maybe, and Americans, definitely.

New Year’s Resolution: Pay It Forward

We’ve all made New Year’s resolutions that lasted approximately 2.5 weeks before throwing in the towel. We tell ourselves we’ll eat less, exercise more and go to sleep earlier—but before we know it, we’re skipping the gym for happy hour.

Improving one’s physical well-being is always a good intention, but this year we’re focusing our resolutions on positivity and mental well-being (two goals that you can achieve without getting sweaty at the gym!). Today, we want to share two sources of inspiration with you.

The first is a book we’ve been passing around the ASE office: One Good Deed by Erin McHugh.  We’re inspired by the author’s journey as she documents one good deed a day for a year. We’re trying to incorporate a bit of McHugh’s spirit into our daily routines.

The second do-good trend we’re loving is #26Acts, a movement started by NBC News correspondent Ann Curry as a response to the tragic Newtown shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary school. The premise is simple: complete 26 acts of kindness in memory of each of the 26 victims. Curry’s idea went viral, and participants have been documenting their acts via twitter using the hashtag #26Acts.

kennedyBlabbeySayWhatHighspiritedred

We’re with McHugh and Curry. Make “pay it forward” your New Year’s resolution with acts of kindness, no matter how small. That’s one resolution we know we’ll stick with.

Follow us on twitter: @ASargentEvents.

Shop For A Cause: World AIDS Day

Saturday, December 1 is World AIDS Day. According to the official website, the day is an opportunity for “people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.”

The first World AIDS Day was held in 1988. Twenty-four years later, much progress has been made in terms of scientific advancement, but there is still a long way to go. More than 25 million people have died from the virus between 1981 and 2007, making it a global pandemic.

Every dollar counts— so what better way to contribute than to shop for the cause? Here are some of our favorite buys from brands that give back to AIDS research.

Shop For A Cause

keychain. watch. purse. tee. bracelet. case. book. lipstick. tote. cover. Belvedere. hightop. drawstring.

Give Thanks, Give Back This November

Traditionally, November is a month to reflect and give thanks for the people we hold close in our lives. Last week, Hurricane Sandy hit our native New Jersey and the rest of the east coast hard. Here are a few organizations helping those affected by Sandy, as well as a few local and national charities that strive to do good year round for a variety of causes.

Who: Jersey Cares
What: An NJ-based volunteer organization that works for multiple causes throughout the year, including everything from food drives, pet therapy and soup kitchens.  Currently, volunteers are needed to assist with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. ASE’s own Event Assistant Megan McHugh recently spent a day volunteering at a local rehab center with Jersey Cares!
How to help: Visit the website to find events that need volunteers. You can spend as little as one hour; every bit counts. Monetary donations are also welcome.

Who: The Salvation Army
What: The iconic organization focuses on bringing Americans the basic necessities of life—food, shelter and warmth. The Salvation Army also dedicates resources to music programs, missing persons, Christmas and seasonal charities and disaster relief, among other causes. Due to Hurricane Sandy, the South Jersey Salvation Army Division Headquarters was uprooted. After the storm, headquarters relocated to our hometown of Montclair, where ASE founder Allison Sargent spent a day preparing warm meals for those in need.
How to help: Visit the website to find out how to volunteer your time. You can also help by donating clothes to your local Salvation Army thrift store, automobiles, airline miles and monetary donations.

Who: Table to Table
What: A community-based program that collects prepared and perishable meals that would otherwise be wasted and delivers it to organizations that serve the hungry around northern NJ.
How to help: Food donations must be prepared or stored in a commercial kitchen or food establishment. You can also volunteer your time and any special services you have to offer.

Who: Wish Upon A Wedding
What: An organization that sponsors free-of-charge weddings for couples facing serious life-altering circumstances. Wish Upon A Wedding takes care of all the wedding planning details, from the venue to the cake.
How to help: Wish Upon A Wedding needs those in the Hospitality and Event Planning industry—caterers, DJs, cake decorators and photographers, this means you!

Who: One Warm Coat
What: An organization whose mission is to “Collect coats to give to those in need, free of charge.” Most coat drives are held around this time, when temperatures are dropping across the country.
How to help: Donate a gently used coat to a local coat drive in your neighborhood, or hold a coat drive of your own. One Warm Coat’s website has guidelines for holding a successful coat drive in your area.

Who: FeedingNYC
What: An organization that hand-delivers full Thanksgiving meals to families in need across the five boroughs. Last year, more than 20,000 meals were delivered to those facing hunger who are in partnership with Women in Need, the Jewish Federation, Catholic Charities and City Harvest.
How to help: Register to volunteer on November 20th, 2012 to pack and deliver meals. You can also choose to sponsor a family—$35 feeds one family, $175 feeds five.

Who: Kessler Foundation
What: A public charity dedicated to improving the quality of life for individuals with disabilities.
How to help: ASE has recently been working with the Kessler Foundation to organize a Monte Carlo Night Fundraiser this month; however, as a result of the storm the foundation has decided to postpone their original plans and hold a boardwalk-themed event in honor of the Jersey Shore. This Sandy-relief fundraiser will benefit people with disabilities who were affected by the storm. The event, which is open to the public, will be held on November 15th at the Grove in Cedar Grove, NJ from 7 to 10 pm. Tickets may be purchased in advance online for $50, or at the door for $60. Here’s your invitation!

Tell us, how are you giving back this month? Tweet us your stories at @ASargentEvents.

ASE Loves: The Kessler Foundation

On October 21, 2012, the Kessler Foundation’s 11th Annual Stroll ‘N Roll (and RUN!) will take place at Brookdale Park in Montclair, NJ. The mission of this event is simple, to change lives for people with disabilities. ASE is so excited to be working with such a great foundation to help improve the lives of those with disabilities. This event “helps individuals in wheelchairs take their first steps, stroke survivors communicate and navigate their surroundings, people with multiple sclerosis and traumatic brain injury recall memories and improve daytime function, and prevents further affects of disability. It will also help expand grant funding to organizations that create or promote job opportunities for people with disabilities. Lastly, your participation will help fund the New Jersey division of ThinkFirst–an injury prevention program that educates students, grades K-12, on the consequences of spinal cord and brain injury and simple safety practices to adopt to avoid injury.” If you don’t know much about the Kessler Foundation, it is “the largest public charity in the field of disability. Its rehabilitation research discovers treatments to improve the quality of life for individuals with spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, and stroke.” Stroll ‘N Roll (and RUN!) is a fun-filled family day that includes exhibition booths, food, music, and kid-friendly activities. You may walk, roll, run or rollerblade around the park. This year, they have USATF certified 5K and 10K courses for runners and wheelchair racers. In addition to the races, there is a family-fun 5K (the stroll ‘n roll). For more information on how Kessler Foundation improves the lives of people with disabilities through rehabilitation research and expanding employment opportunities, visit the Kessler Foundation website.

Montclair Restaurant Week

All across Montclair, local business owners are fine-tuning plans for the township’s Restaurant Week, scheduled for March 20 through April 1, 2012. Buy your tickets today for an event that puts charity back on the table and celebrates the diversity and excellence of dining in Montclair. More than 40 restaurants, specialty food and drink vendors, are expected to participate in The Taste of Montclair. Tickets cost $40 in advance and $50 after March 14. Tickets are available at businesses in town and by going here. Over the last two years, Montclair Restaurant Week has raised almost $15,000 for the township’s three largest food charities. The event helps the needy while also celebrating one of Montclair’s greatest resources—its wonderful restaurants that are enjoyed by customers from northern New Jersey and beyond. The financial success of the venture is due to the dedicated volunteers who run the event, the financial support of sponsors, and the diners who eat out in these fabulous Montclair restaurants.

All proceeds from Montclair Restaurant Week will be donated to The Human Needs Food Pantry, TheSalvation Army Food Program, and Toni’s Kitchen. Like last year, the participating restaurants will offer pre fix meals for $31, or less. Every penny of the extra $1 will be donated to the Montclair Rotary Foundation and distributed to the three charities.

Allison Sargent Events is SO proud to be a sponsor of Montclair Restaurant Week. Get your tickets today!

Ray Festa Melanoma Foundation

As the snow is melting away with the month of January coming to an end, the warm sunny weather seems to be starting to come out for February and soon to be Valentine’s Day which we love! Being the month of LOVE, here at ASE we wanted to share with you one of the things we really LOVE: Not-For-Profit Organizations, such as the Ray Festa Melanoma Foundation.

The Ray Festa Melanoma Foundation (RFMF) is committed to educating everyone 12 years old and up on the importance of being “Sun Smart”. Their message is simple. They advocate that everyone should have fun in the sun, through sports and other outdoor activities, but should take precautions when doing so. RFMF is a “lifestyle” foundation different form other medical research organizations that raise monies to fund bench research. ASE had a blast working with this tremendous organization on their gala, here are some photos from the event.

As a final word, if you’re looking for the best way to spread the love this Valentine’s Day or looking for something to do for an Alternative Spring Break this year, why not contribute some of your time volunteering for this wonderful organization! For more details check out their website at http://www.rayfesta.org .