It was a perfect morning for a walk with friends at the park! The aqua Friendship Circle shirts were dotted across the landscape as Friendship Circle families and friends of families trekked along the one-mile footpath around Votee Park and filled the multiple activity areas in the south area of the green. This year’s annual Friendship Circle fundraiser is nearing its goal of $110,000, bolstered by the walk that provides Friendship Circle families and their family members with special needs a chance to mingle outdoors with local friends in a casual and fun environment.
According to Zeesy Grossbaum, director of Friendship Circle of Bergen County, the day had two primary goals: “To raise money and to provide a day for the community to walk in solidarity with families of special needs children and adults.” Grossbaum said that many donations came ahead of the event and they are hoping that online donations will continue to flow in and help them reach their goal.
Grossbaum estimated that 1,000 people attended the event over several hours, calculated by the small number of tee shirts that were left. She also noted that by changing to a morning time that avoided the heat of the day, the event attracted more people.
This year’s event, Grossbaum said, “had more energy than usual, as people were so happy to be back together in person and at the park on a beautiful day.”
A number of fundraising teams walked together and also walked with Friendship Circle families. Teenage volunteer teams came out as well, and she described it as a real celebration for everyone.
This year’s event featured a variety of activities for all ages, including a bike show, face and hand painting, the popular and fun foam machine, the inflatable slide and jump house, and several craft tables. The petting zoo included several cute, young animals, eager for a snack or a nuzzle from animal fans outside the enclosure.
Grossbaum summed up by saying, “The event created an overall positive feeling, all as one community, a day in the sun for families and friends [in solidarity] with Friendship Circle.”
To help Bergen County Friendship Circle reach their goal, online donations are easy to process by visiting www.bcfriendship.com/donate.
By Ellie Wolf