Eighth Grade students at All Saints Episcopal Day School have long anticipated going on their trip to Ecuador as part of the school’s Ecuador Exchange Program, but when the pandemic hit, their plans changed.
After months of fundraising, earning money for the trip by managing Pizza Fridays and the School Store, watching younger students during Parent’s Night Out Events, and organizing a Bingo Night for the school, the trip was canceled.
Instead, these young minds decided to donate their hard-earned money, amounting to $10,000, to a worthy cause, the Hoboken Relief Fund.
The fund, chaired by Council President Jen Giattino and Councilman Phil Cohen, was created earlier this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has left residents out of work and businesses in the red.
It helps small Hoboken businesses and residents weather the economic and financial storms caused by the public health emergency, distributing grant funding to those in need.
A unanimous decision
2020 graduate Zoe Wojnick said that the decision was simple because service had been an integral part of their time at All Saints. “We have been doing service projects every year at All Saints, and we have seen firsthand that giving back does make a difference!”
The class was unanimous that the funds should go to charity.
“We know people are struggling because of COVID-19,” said Mara Reba, a member of the Class of 2020. “The Hoboken Relief Fund was the best choice for us because it directly supports the Hoboken community.”
“Hoboken has given us so much over the years and helped us grow,” shared Lucas Laine, a 2020 graduate. “Donating this money is the least we could do.”
Head of School Jill Singleton commended the class for their generous contribution.
“I am so proud of the Class of 2020,” she said. “Their donation to the Hoboken Relief Fund highlights both their maturity and dedication to the community. These graduates have fully embraced the All Saints Mission. They understand the importance of giving back, and Hoboken is stronger for it!”
A gift that stands apart
Members of the Class of 2020 presented the check co-chairs of the Hoboken Relief Fund, who expressed their gratitude.
“The Trustees of the Hoboken Relief Fund are humbled and inspired by the generous gift from the All Saints Episcopal Day School’s Class of 2020,” they stated. “What a wonderful way to support their Hoboken neighbors who are struggling with the impact of COVID-19. Of the more than $400,000 that the Hoboken Relief Fund has received, this gift stands apart, and we were so fortunate to meet these inspiring students and accept their extraordinary contribution.”
Cohen said the donation was completely unexpected.
“I get emotional thinking about it,” he said. “It says so much about the community and about these kids. It’s so special…They had options, and they did their research, and ultimately they decided to help people hurt by COVID-19.”
According to Cohen, the fund received roughly 170 applications for grant funding from individuals and local businesses.
He said final grant agreement forms will be sent out early next week. Once those are executed, checks will follow.
Those checks range from $700 to $10,000, depending on the number of employees and the extent of loss due to the pandemic.