HOBOKEN RELIEF FUND: Local Businesses, Artists and Government Unite to Lift Each Other Up
(ABOVE: Hoboken Arts & Music Festival, Fall 2017)
We’ve been down similar roads before.
When the dust cleared in September 2001, as we learned the scale of the impact to our community we joined together in the hope of recovery. In October 2012, as the flood waters receded we learned that 78% of our city had been damaged by Sandy. Once again we joined together and put in the effort that helped out community recover.
It’s 2020, and 100% of us have been impacted—some a lot more than others. So we’ll do what we always do.
The Hoboken Relief Fund is spearheaded by a group of citizens who are dedicated to helping Hoboken small businesses and Hoboken residents weather the economic and financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Organized by fund trustees Councilwoman Jen Giattino, Councilman Phil Cohen and Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla, the Hoboken Relief Fund is committed to invest in our local economy, helping small businesses—the backbone of the Hoboken community—get back on their feet, while simultaneously working to help Hoboken’s vulnerable residents, families and our seniors.
Hoboken Relief Fund Board Members—Joe Barry, Grant Sahag, Irene Perello, Lavon Smith, Donna Garban (of the Hoboken Business Alliance), and David Bistany, (of The Rotary Club of Hoboken)—along with the Fund’s Clergy Advisors—Rabbi Robert Scheinberg of the United Synagogue of Hoboken, Rev. Elaine Ellis Thomas of All Saints Episcopal Church and more to come—seeks to raise upwards $2 million, and ultimately reward those funds via a grant process to businesses and organizations in need.
“I’m thrilled that this relief fund is launching in Hoboken to help provide a helping hand to those in need,” said Mayor Bhalla. “This fund is an ideal way to give back to our community to help Hoboken recover from this crisis, and I encourage anyone who can afford to donate to please do so. I thank Councilmembers Jen Giattino and Phil Cohen and the entire board for helping make this critical relief effort possible for our mile square.”
To kick off the Hoboken Relief Fund’s public fundraising drive, Mayor Bhalla will be joined by legendary Hoboken businessman, Buddy “the Cake Boss” Valastro, as they host a bevy of Hoboken artists and talented personalities performing remotely next Saturday, May 16 for an event that will be broadcast on the City of Hoboken’s Facebook page.
Fund Co-Chair, Councilwoman Giattino states, “Without our small businesses there would be a gaping hole in the heart and soul of our community. I am very excited to have the opportunity to ensure that our small businesses will be supported and I am hopeful that they will be able to receive funding that will help secure their future.” She adds, “Thank you to my fellow board members and Rabbi Scheinberg and Reverend Thomas for their work. A special thank you to [Hoboken Administrator of Cultural Affairs] Geri Fallo for organizing our first event.”
Companies and individuals who would like to donate to the Hoboken Relief Fund can visit HobokenReliefFund.com or mail a check to The Hoboken Rotary Club at P.O. Box 1027, Hoboken, NJ 07030. Checks can be made payable to the Hoboken Rotary Foundation and write “The Hoboken Rotary Club Foundation c/o Hoboken Relief Fund” in the memo of the check. The Hoboken Rotary Foundation is a pending 501(c)(3) entity and the Hoboken Relief Fund is currently in the process of obtaining 501(c)(3) status to ensure that all donations are tax-deductible.
For those companies and individuals seeking assistance, visit the HobokenReliefFund.com website to apply for grants.
Meanwhile, tune in to the City of Hoboken’s Facebook page on Saturday, May 16 as Mayor Bhalla and Buddy Valastro welcome musical guests (alphabetically) Ron Albanese (a.k.a POLKA DOT!), Zack Alexander, Richard Barone, Jeremy Beck, Deena and Jon of The Cucumbers, Elena and Boo of The Demolition String Band, Julio Fernandez, The Fuzzy Lemons featuring Dana Harrison and Dave Lambert, Garden Street School of the Performing Arts, Gene D. Plumber, Glenn Morrow, Karyn Kuhl, James Mastro, Abbe Rivers, Rockness Music, Jack Skuller, Twiddlin’ Thumbs, Emily Turonis, and Gary Van Miert.
Plus online personality Peter Biancamano, Mile Square Theatre Director Chris O’Connor, writer and emcee Jack Silbert, and storyteller Adam Wade.
“I love Hoboken,” says Wade. “I’ve been here over 17 years and I’m happy to help in any way I can.”
Fund Co-Chair, Councilman Cohen “It is amazing to see Hoboken’s musicians and Hoboken’s celebrity chef, Buddy Valastro, come together and support our local businesses and families who are hurting right now. Our benefit concert will be an exciting kickoff to our Fund’s goal of raising $2 million. The Fund’s hard-working Board of Trustees and Inter-faith advisors reflect the best of Hoboken—community leaders and business leaders pulling together to persevere in the face of an