Chairman of Unity Bash Committee Receives Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service
The Unity Bash Committee Raises Total of Over $150,000 to Support Interfaith Hospitality Network
On Friday, November 17th, at the second annual Unity Bash Fundraiser held at the Shore Casino in the Atlantic Highlands, Keansburg- based Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) president Chuck Payette and Network Director Bill Davis, presented Holmdel resident and Chairman of the event Eric Hinds with the “Bob Messina Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service.” Hinds was honored for his fundraising achievements via a committee he co-founded with friend Marybeth Walz only a couple years ago.
IHN President Chuck Payette comments, “We are extremely grateful to Eric Hinds and the entire Unity Bash Committee for hosting such an extraordinary event for the second year in a row. These additional funds raised will further expand our services for families that have become displaced in Monmouth County.” According to IHN president Chuck Payette, the Unity Bash Committee has helped enabled IHN to implement a new program called “Housing First.” It allows for more permanent housing solutions rather than the typical transitional assistance.
So, how does success come so quick to a newly formed committee? It was in late 2004 that Eric Hinds wanted to make a difference in the lives of families in need living in Monmouth County. The idea was to identify a local charity with little funding, and make a huge impact.
According to Hinds it all began to come together during a conversation held with close friends Marybeth Walz and Steve Coltrain. Hinds says, “The three of us were talking about doing something different to entice a movement of young professionals to become involved in a significant community fundraiser. We decided that we could start our own committee and choose a charity to support with the proceeds from our fundraiser. We put all of our longtime friends and contacts together, many of whom we went to high school with in Middletown in the late ‘80’s, and before we knew it we had 14 great board members. Marybeth and I became the official co-founders of the Unity Bash Committee and it grew from there. We knew we needed to create something different and exciting, an upbeat event, which our peers would truly look forward to attending, and talk about what a great time they had afterwards. ”
Fast forward two years to 2006 and success has come quickly to the Unity Bash Committee. In November of 2005, with little experience in fundraising the committee raised over $60,000 and had a crowd of over 350 guests. A couple weeks ago the Unity Bash Committee completed their second successful fundraiser, raising over $90,000, with a crowd of over 420. In total the Unity Bash Committee has raised over $150,000 to support the charity of their choice for two years in a row. The fortunate recipient for their first two fundraisers has been IHN of Monmouth County. IHN president Chuck Payette says, “Eric Hinds and the Unity Bash Committee are continuing to make a difference in the lives of displaced families living in our community. They are enabling IHN to provide quicker and more in-depth services to those who are really in need.”
This year’s $150 reservation per person event included a cocktail hour, a sit down dinner followed by upbeat dancing to the tunes of Brian Kirk & the Jirks, and exciting live and silent auctions. The evening’s buzz was all about the grand raffle; a new Pontiac Solstice.
Eric Hinds, Chairman of the Unity Bash Committee says, “We are thrilled and thankful about the excellent turnout of guests to support our second annual event, and we look forward to increasing our crowd each year. This year’s high guest turnout coupled with a tremendous display of generosity in donated gifts for our auctions and raffle, will truly make a difference in the lives of displaced families in Monmouth County.”
For now Eric is enjoying the holiday season with his wife Karen and their three young children. Hinds says, “My wife Karen and I appreciate all the good that we have in our lives, and it gives the holiday season more meaning when you are able to help those in need living only a few miles away. Our committee is already beginning to work on next year’s fundraiser with plans to make it more successful than ever. ”
IHN is a charitable organization dedicated to working with community agencies, faith based services, and 30 churches and synagogues to provide shelter, food, transportation and other support services to displaced families. Since 2001, IHN has served 87 families and receives 8-10 inquiries per week about services for other families that at the present time they cannot accommodate. If you would like to volunteer please contact Chuck Payette at 732.495.1050. You can help IHN by sending a donation to IHN Post Office Box 304, Keansburg, NJ 07734. Please make checks payable to IHN. For more information see www.ihn-of-mc.org .