“Nets Make Difference” A Huge Success

By Lori Draz

DSC03010In September, The Journal Publications first announced our “Nets Make a Difference” campaign to collect items for the victims of sexual and domestic violence who are served by 180 Turning Lives Around. Starting in mid-October, we happily placed 16 colorful nets – “safety nets,” so to speak – at locations all over Monmouth County. And then you, our generous readers, showed up to make your donations. We collected all kinds of much-needed items that were delivered for use in 180’s annual Holiday Shop, which offers their client families the chance to select gifts, and other essentials, for themselves. There was clothing, jewelry, bedding, toys, books, videos, personal care items, hand-knitted scarves and gloves, coats, socks, school supplies, perfume, and many other wonderful things. In all, by the time the drive ended on December 15, we had collected nearly 4,000 items, estimated to be valued somewhere near $75,000, for the victims of domestic and sexual abuse who are aided by this life-saving organization.

We cannot be more grateful.

You may never meet them, but your goodwill and kindness has done so much to not only make this a bright holiday season, but to reaffirm these families’ belief in the better life that waits ahead.

Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats, and emotional abuse. One in three women and one in four men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner. On a typical day in New Jersey, domestic violence hotlines receive approximately 21,000 calls; that’s approximately 15 calls every minute. Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime, 72% of all murder-suicides involved an intimate partner, and 94% of the victims of these crimes are female

DSC03023 Journal owner and publisher Louis Francis Mercatanti explained, “I am so very proud to have had our Journal magazines be the connection between the good people of Monmouth County and the abused. 180 Turning Lives Around does critical work that is not just limited to women. Men, teenagers, and seniors, too, are also victims. Many are forced to flee at a moment’s notice and have to start rebuilding their lives from scratch. 180 assists them with all matter of support from jobs, money, and transportation to housing, access to services, legal assistance, and the basic essentials of life. I also thank our staff for their enthusiasm and willingness to roll up their sleeves and work hard to make such a difference. What a fitting end to 2016.”

Journal editor Joanne Colella was delighted by the interest shown by readers throughout the area, who saw the information published over the course of several months. “Judging by the overwhelming response, it was clear how many people were reading the articles and following our updates – not just in The Journal publications, but also on our website, Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram, where it was continually shared far and wide,” she said. “Additionally, organizations who usually submit information to us about projects they are doing throughout the year generously spread the news to their own members, so that they could assist us with this project. Kindness comes full circle!”

Michal DiMiceli, sales director for The Journal, commended the efforts of her team of marketing consultants and their dedicated clients. “Our reps asked some of our advertising clients if they would ‘host’ drop-off locations for the Nets Make a Difference drive,” she noted. “A number of them stepped up and generously agreed to provide the space in key locations throughout the area. We brought them nets of various sizes and gathered up the items that had been collected in them afterwards. This was a great team effort.”

We thank all the drop-off locations who made floor space and encouraged their customers to donate, the private groups who organized drives and knitting parties, and the countless individuals who contributed – most of whom remain anonymous. Special thank you to these locations:

All One Consulting Group, 740 River Road, Suite 213, Fair Haven

Barnstormers, 102 Avenue of the Two Rivers, Rumson

Danish Café, 2 Bridge Avenue, in the Galleria, Red Bank

Hobby Shop, 1077-C Route 34, Aberdeen

Kick Fitness, 611 River Road, Fair Haven

LA Dance Center of the Arts, 728 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft

Little Silver Library, 484 Prospect Avenue, Little Silver

Medimorphosis, 499 Broad Street in Shrewsbury

Middletown Library, 55 New Monmouth Road, Middletown

Monmouth County Regional Library Eastern Branch, 1001 Route 35, Shrewsbury

Monmouth University Center of Arts, 400 Cedar Avenue, West Long Branch

Red Bank Library, 84 West Front Street, Red Bank

Salon La Di Da, 549 Route 35 North, Middletown

Texas Road House, 2105 Route 35, Holmdel

Voyagers’ Community School, 215 Broad Street, Eatontown

If you would still like to make a donation, 180’s Safe House needs items all year for incoming victims. You can contact The Journal’s Lori Draz at (732) 735-5441 or visit www.180nj.org for more information.

Included here are some pictures of The Journal staff packing up the donations in our Shrewsbury office and delivering them to 180. We also filmed a special Mannequin Challenge for the occasion, which you can see on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TheJournalNJ/videos/.

Thank you all, so very much, from your friends at The Journal!