HOPE Committee Collects Winter Coats, Donations for Community FoodBank

Oak Knoll’s Upper School HOPE Committee (Helping Other People Everywhere) kicked off the New Year by organizing two HOPE Committee collection drives, gathering items to benefit two area nonprofits.

To battle the cold winter weather, the HOPE Committee collected nearly 100 winter coats for the homeless (men, women, boys or gender-neutral size 10 and up) through Bridges Outreach in Summit and more than 2,000 feminine hygiene products and diapers to benefit the Summit Medical Group Foundation (SMGF). SMGF will then distribute the products collected to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey.

The HOPE Committee serves as a clearinghouse for all OKS fundraising, collections, drives and all other monetary requests.

“As many members of our community continue to struggle to find work, it is our responsibility as Catholics to make sure that the rights of our neighbors, which include access to basic needs, are met,” said Stephanie Almozara, Upper School Theology Department Chair, Director of Campus Ministry, and the HOPE Committee adviser. “Oak Knoll’s Upper School is blessed that it has so many students who want to fulfill their responsibility.”

Melissa Dardanello ’25 is a HOPE Committee student coordinator who says that these fundraisers are so important because they directly benefit those in need.

“I stand by the Summit Medical Group Foundation motto which is ‘everybody deserves a healthy tomorrow,’” said Dardanello, who hopes to plan future fundraising drives while in high school. “Service is essential in today’s world because some people can’t afford certain products and are in need, so helping them is the least we can do.”

For more information about Oak Knoll’s HOPE Committee please visit oakknoll.org/upper-school/student-life/clubs/.

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