(photos courtesy of Karen DeJesus)
The 11th Annual Thanksgiving Drive benefiting the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation took place at Pilsener Haus & Biergarten (1422 Grand Street, Hoboken) last Monday, November 19th, and it was a tremendous success.
“I originated this with a group of [real estate] agents,” says Karen DeJesus. “Over the years we’ve been hosting this drive at the Biergarten and in the past two years since I’ve been at Engel & Volkers Hoboken I’ve opened it up to other real estate agencies and local organizations to collaborate with us in this cause.”
The mission of Hyacinth AIDS Foundation is to help people live with HIV, slow the spread of the epidemic, and serve as a critical voice in the public debate surrounding AIDS in New Jersey. They have worked to ensure that all New Jerseyans have access to anonymous and confidential testing, that those at risk for HIV have access to information and programs to protect themselves from infection, and that those living with HIV/AIDS have access to the best possible medical care and treatment. They currently provide client services in 6 offices in 6 metropolitan areas of New Jersey, as well as several statewide services.
“The baskets that are prepared are provided to Hudson County families in need and dealing with HIV/AIDS. The bulk of the turkeys are donated by St. Francis Food Pantries in NY. All other items that we provide in the baskets are shopped for in local supermarkets the day before the event at the Biergarten. This year our local Acme and Shoprite supermarkets were amazing contributors as well as Food Bazaar in North Bergen,” says DeJesus. “Also, this year the Hoboken Charter School girls and boys basketball teams as well as other local realtors teamed up at the Biergarten to pack the bags, carry all the items and complete 110 bags with FULL Thanksgiving meals significantly surpassing our goal of 75. This is a very special project for us and I’m sure we’ll continue doing this for years to come.”
Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla also stopped by to check out the efforts, along with Leo Pellegrini, Hoboken Director of Health & Human Services.
“Giving back is the ultimate fulfillment for any human being, but only few exercise that need and those who don’t, they really don’t know better or have never been exposed to it, or have never learned how to go about it. We do it because it is part of our fabric and we are so proud to be able to give during this holiday season and we have also helped the more fortunate to have a venue to give during this Thanksgiving drive,” says Soha Fontaine, of RE/MAX On The Hudson.
RE/MAX’s Sean Munroe adds, “I feel it’s important to stay connected to the community as much as possible. We have been given so much in our lives that it is important to always remember that and to give back as much as possible. One of the nicest things is to see competitors uniting for a common cause. This event has grown each year and this year we had the most diverse participants. It was realtors, family, friends, volunteers from other charitable organizations, and most importantly STUDENTS. The future looks bright!!!”