Hundreds turn out for first BAPS Charities Walk

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun Hundreds of people turned out for the BAPS Charities Walk through Town Center on June 2 to raise funds for the American Cancer Society, the Robbinsville Education Foundation and other charities.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Robbinsville Sun
Hundreds of people turned out for the BAPS Charities Walk through Town Center on June 2 to raise funds for the American Cancer Society, the Robbinsville Education Foundation.

Hundreds of people turned out for the first BAPS Charities Walk in Town Center, a June 2 fundraiser benefiting the American Cancer Society on National Cancer Survivors Day, as well as Robbinsville school programs.

In keeping with the walk’s theme, “Building a Better Community, One Step at a Time,” BAPS Charities donated $2,000 of the event’s proceeds to the Robbinsville Education Foundation, a nonprofit that supports initiatives, such as pre-engineering classes at the middle school, that are beyond the scope of the school budget.

With temperatures near 90 degrees, the participants young and old enthusiastically stepped off from the parking lot at 1 Washington Blvd. then followed the town’s customary parade route down North Street, Newtown Boulevard, and Lake Drive.  Similar fundraising walks took place June 2 in more than 40 other cities.

In Robbinsville, however, talking preceding the walking as the event began with a series of check presentations and speeches from the portico of the Sharbell building, where BAPS Charities volunteers business leaders, township council members, school district representatives and other special invited guests were gathered.

BAPS Charities presented Natasha Coleman, regional vice president at the American Cancer Society, with a $3,000 donation. REF Treasurer Sharon DeVito, joined by Sharon School Principal Janet Sinkewicz and Facilities and Community Education Manager Kim Keener, accepted the $2,000 check for the REF.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Sun BAPS Charities volunteers present a $2,000 check to the Robbinsville Education Foundation. From left are Kiran Patel, Sharon School Principal Janet Sinkewicz, Robbinsville School District Manager of Facilities and Community Education Kim Keener, Chandresh Patel, and Robbinsville Education Foundation Treasurer Sharon DeVito.

JOANNE DEGNAN/The Sun
BAPS Charities volunteers present a $2,000 check to the Robbinsville Education Foundation. From left are Kiran Patel, Sharon School Principal Janet Sinkewicz, Robbinsville School District Manager of Facilities and Community Education Kim Keener, Chandresh Patel, and Robbinsville Education Foundation Treasurer Sharon DeVito.

Corporate donations small and large, and even the dollar bills raised by children going door-to-door with donation cans, all contributed to the success of the fundraising event, organizers said.

The walk was launched with a traditional prayer for world peace, followed by opening remarks from Shreya Barot, a BAPS Charities volunteer who is currently pursuing her master’s in public policy from Rutgers University.

“BAPS Charities aims to improve the quality of life for the community by hosting various events and serving the underserved,” Barot said. “Health fairs, blood drives, walkathons, bone marrow drives, children’s health and safety days, and care for the elderly programs are but a few initiatives aimed at providing resources to better the lives of our friends and neighbors.”

DeVito, who is also a school board member, thanked BAPS Charities for its donation, noting BAPS Charities has been a strong supporter of the Robbinsville public schools in recent years, including contributing funds for the athletic field lights and the high school’s award-winning robotics team.

Township Council members Vince Calcagno, Christine Ciaccio, and Sheree McGowan, Board of Education member Shaina Ciaccio, and Township Recreation Director Joe Barker were also present. The township officials expressed their gratitude to BAPS for its volunteers’ help during Hurricane Sandy.

“The members of BAPS have really shown us what it means to be part of a community,” McGowan said. “Whenever the township needs anything they’re there.”

Special to the Sun The heat was oppressive but it didn’t fray the spirits of the participants in the BAPS Charities Walk on June 2.

Special to the Sun
The heat was oppressive but it didn’t fray the spirits of the participants in the BAPS Charities Walk on June 2.

Looking out at the hundreds of people in the parking lot, McGowan said she was amazed at the turnout for the inaugural walk.

“To have this many people out on a Sunday morning is incredible,” McGowan said. “We hope that in the years to come the walk becomes bigger and bigger.”

Kevin Cummings, CEO of Investors Bank, which was the major corporate sponsor of the event, received a plaque in appreciation for the bank’s support. Gold-level sponsors recognized included Raritan Pharmaceuticals, Dubal Law Offices, Pulte Group, Endo Pharmaceuticals, Decors USA, Grand Bank and Walmart. Many other local businesses and individuals who also contributed were also recognized as silver and bronze sponsors.

 

 

 

 


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