A friend of mine recently reminded me of a quote:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping”
You can’t legislate charity, no matter how hard you try. The beauty of America and its citizens is that you’ve never had to. The recent events surrounding the Coronavirus has our citizens on edge. No one knows what to believe or how long we’ll be living under it’s cloud. With a survival rate of over 98% and only a small percentage of the population at any substantial risk, those being effected most, ironically, are the ones we’re trying hardest to protect: our children. Our children are often less capable of properly processing the information that they are hearing spoken at dinner tables and plastered all over the news, inevitably leading to irrational fears and anxiety. More than that, we are seeing increasing numbers of school districts closing schools, most for an indefinite period of time. While this seems logical, prudent and simple at face value from a governmental standpoint, what often gets overlooked is that many of these children and their families rely on schools being open as a means for some of the most basic of routines such as meals; specifically breakfast and lunch.
In Phillipsburg, NJ, the new hometown of the Brothers Before Others headquarters and our partner Korinos Inc, lead by Mayor Todd Tersigni, businesses are stepping up and providing free lunches to students from the Phillipsburg/Lopatcong area. Daniel Rissi, who is the new owner of the Phillipsburg Antique Mall and Toby’s Cup, is providing free hot dog lunches to all students from the area who visit Toby’s Cup between the hours of 11Am and 2PM. The plan, for now, is to continue this effort for the next two weeks and then reassess.
Mayor Tersigni has already had an opportunity to support both BBO’s President/Founder Michael Burke and Korinos Inc co-owner Harold Heerwig. Mayor Tersigni participated in an event this past December where, joined by Blue Magazine CEO Daniel Del Valle, BBO and Korinos Inc were able to bring a ‘winter wonderland’ Christmas to the Phillipsburg Early Child Learning Center where they provided each child with an opportunity to meet Santa and receive an age/sex appropriate gift.
Already rooted in charity and with that level of support in mind, when BBO and our partners saw the example and the tone that Mayor Tersigni was setting, it was a no-brainer to return the favor. Because of a generous donation to BBO from Dr Jonathan Arad of bluebariatrics.com, BBO was able to pledge $1,000.00 to the Mayor’s efforts. Michael Burke released the following statement:
“As relatively new members in the town of Phillipsburg, we are pleased to help where/when we can. Our first endeavor was the ‘Winter Wonderland’ at the Early Childhood Learning Center this past December. We are now reaching out again during this trying time as well as we all deal with the Coronavirus (Covid-19). Brothers Before Others has allocated $1,000.00 to assist our residents who have school-aged children who are directly effected by the recent school closings. If you are aware of such residents who are in financial need or face related hardships, please share this message. We will be working directly with Mayor Todd Tersigni as he ensures these funds will be directed where they are most needed. Our initial plan is to have the already existing lunch program expanded in the event that allocated funds are exhausted. Our non-profit organization (BBO) will continue to seek out like-minded businesses in the hopes of hosting a community wide fundraiser specifically for this cause. We are ‘outside the box’ thinkers and can do this in a way that avoids large crowds or gatherings. From our side, this effort has been made possible through the continued generosity of our members as well as ‘Angel Donors’ such as Dr Arad. It is through these donations that we are fortunate to be able to give back to those in our community who are in need. Our members remain committed to serving the community and, as a civic association, we are here for you.”
As this is being written, we are pleased to announce that, in conjunction with Mayor Tersigni, Warren County Sheriff Jim McDonald, New Jersey State PBA Local 56 President Brad Kisselbach and Gara’s Pizzeria, BBO and Korinos Inc will be sponsoring ‘Pizza for Phillipsburg’. Gara’s has agreed to provide, for free, two slices of pizza and a small drink to any student from the Phillipsburg/Lopatcong area. This promotion, for Mon-Fri eat-in only, will begin Tuesday, 3/17/20, and will be available from both 12P-2P and again from 6P-8P. Gara’s Pizzeria owner, Chris Gara, has graciously matched the $1,000.00 donation made by BBO in order to aid in this effort. The Phillipsburg community can always count on Chris’ benevolence. This promotion will continue until the funds are depleted.
For anyone business or individual looking to join this movement, please contact Michael Burke via email directly at:
BBO and Korinos Inc have made their new home at the (old) Howell School, located at 1 Fairview Avenue in Phillipsburg. For anyone looking to stop by and see some of the renovations that are already underway, our door is always open. If you have police patches, we have just the spot for them!! Michael, his wife Julie, the members of Brothers Before Others and the entire Korinos team look forward to the opportunity to meeting you all and helping our community through these unprecedented times.