Bright Side Community Calendar Recent News

Atlantic County Middle School Students Invited to Participate in Public Service Announcement Contest

The winning entry of the 2019 PSA Contest was created by Naomi Green 8th grade, Brigantine Middle School.

Join Together Atlantic County, a countywide substance misuse prevention coalition, is holding an underage drinking middle school Public Service Announcement contest for 6th through 8th graders in Atlantic County.

Students are invited to create an 8.5 x 11 inch landscape direction, PSA, as a message to parents from youth about the dangers of underage drinking or providing alcohol to those under 21.  

The top three winners will receive prizes and the 1st place winner’s drawing will be turned into a billboard. Entries are due no later than 4 p.m. on Friday, July 31, 2020.

The younger a person starts drinking, the more likely he or she is to have alcohol problems later in life. Research shows that people who start drinking before the age of 15 are 4 times more likely to meet the criteria for alcohol dependence at some point in their lives. The brain is still forming until the early twenties and teen drinking can cause permanent brain damage. If you really want to fit in, stay sober. Research shows that more than 70% of youth aged 12 to 20 have not had a drink in the past month. Providing alcohol to those under the age of 21 is illegal, a person can receive up to 6 months’ jail time and a $1,000 fine.

By participating in this contest, youth help to support Join Together Atlantic County in their mission: “to prevent, reduce and/or delay substance use among youth of Atlantic County in a long term and sustainable manner.” Join Together Atlantic County is located at 626 N. Shore Road in Absecon, NJ.

Please see the attached Rules and Regulations for the Middle School PSA Contest, which are also located at

Click here for the entry form.

Bright Side Covid-19 Feature Stories

The Voorhees Animal Orphanage Will Save More Lives, Thanks to Maddie

Pictured is: Gentleman, a gorgeous, three-year-old Cattle Dog. He has some issues, but hey, who doesn’t?! Luckily, Gentleman found himself at the VAO where they go the extra mile to help their animals find their forever homes. Gentleman was not doing well in the kennels. He is a boy that needs a ton of daily mental and physical stimulation, so being cooped up in a kennel was not helping him. Read more about Gentleman. He is available for adoption. (Image credit: Voorhees Animal Orphanage)

Voorhees, NJ (June 9, 2020) – The Voorhees Animal Orphanage (VAO) of Voorhees, NJ has announced it has been awarded a $2,500 foster care stimulus grant from the Maddie’s Fund to help VAO support its foster care program.

Maddie’s Fund®, a national family foundation established by Dave and Cheryl Duffield to revolutionize the status and well-being of companion animals, established a $1 million funding program to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding program is designed to help animal shelters and rescue organizations create, continue or expand pet foster care programs across the U.S.

Maddie’s Fund’s investment in the VAO will help ensure that the animals in the VAO’s foster program receive the critical care needed, which includes medical expenses, spay/neuter surgeries, and vaccinations. All necessary elements that are needed prior to placing an animal into their forever home.

“COVID 19 has impacted non-profit organization’s fundraising abilities significantly, and the VAO is no exception.” said David Gordon, President of VAO’s Board of Directors. “Thanks to Maddie, we will be able to fund spay/neuter surgeries and medical expenses for the 100+ animals that we have had in foster care since the pandemic struck in March.”

Voorhees Animal Orphanage is a nonprofit community animal shelter and adoption center dedicated to providing compassionate care to homeless cats and dogs until a permanent and loving home can be secured. Since its inception in 1988, the VAO has saved the lives of over 34,000 homeless cats and dogs – including over 1,800 in 2019.

For more information about the Voorhees Animal Orphanage, visit

For more on Maddie’s Fund, visit and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by using the hashtag #ThanksToMaddie

About the Voorhees Animal Orphanage

Founded in 1988, the Voorhees Animal Orphanage (VAO) is a nonprofit community animal shelter and 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to providing shelter, food and medical care to stray and unwanted animals, until permanent and loving homes can be found. VAO does not receive any local, state or federal funding.

We rely on grants and generous contributions of individuals and corporations. Currently, VAO serves 26 towns in southern New Jersey, 19 of which are in Camden County. VAO strives to meet a 90 percent live release rate (no-kill) and works with rescue partners across the country to rescue animals from overcrowded and high-kill shelters.

To learn more about VAO and its “Building for a Pawsitive Future” Capital Campaign, visit

About Maddie’s Fund

Maddie’s Fund® is a family foundation created in 1994 by Workday® co-founder Dave Duffield and his wife, Cheryl, who have endowed the Foundation with more than $300 million. Since then, the Foundation has awarded more than $237.6 million in grants toward increased community lifesaving, shelter medicine education, and pet adoptions across the U.S.

The Duffields named Maddie’s Fund after their Miniature Schnauzer Maddie, who always made them laugh and gave them much joy. Maddie was with Dave and Cheryl from 1987 – 1997 and continues to inspire them today. Maddie’s Fund is the fulfillment of a promise to an inspirational dog, investing its resources to create a no-kill nation where every dog and cat is guaranteed a healthy home or habitat. #ThanksToMaddie

Bright Side Covid-19 Feature Stories

Hammonton Attributes Successful COVID-19 Response to Transform South Jersey Community Grant & Training

Hammonton, NJ – As the potential impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic became apparent in early March, the Town of Hammonton immediately established a Coronavirus Task Force designed to help the community cope with the effects of the virus. Community leaders were able to move quickly thanks to knowledge they had gained and relationships they had built through the Community Foundation of South Jersey’s (CFSJ) Transform South Jersey grant application process and subsequent grant award.

As a result, the Task Force has been successful in helping the community unite during this national health crisis and plan for the future.

Transform South Jersey is based on the Orton Family Foundation’s proven national Community Heart & Soul model which empowers residents to shape their future based on what matters most to them. Hammonton was one of five communities in the CFSJ’s eight-county service area selected to receive the prestigious $100,000 grant earlier this year. CFSJ works with local nonprofits to build capital, contribute assets, and create permanent endowments for long-term impact. By aligning donor interests and using the investment earnings on each of its endowed funds, CFSJ makes grants and builds leadership within the community to create thriving, equitable, and livable communities for all.

The Hammonton Coronavirus Task Force includes four separate committees that are focused on the health and safety of the community, relieving the economic impact of the Pandemic, supporting community goodwill and outreach and communication. “Going through the Heart & Soul process we learned a great deal including the need to identify new community leaders, to communicate rapidly and more directly, and to actively engage all facets of the community including government, service providers, and cultural groups,” said Cassie Iacovelli, MainStreet Hammonton Executive Director. “The Pandemic accelerated the idea that we needed residents to leave any preconceived perceptions behind and work together to help the community at large, which is exactly what we have done with this Task Force.”

“One of the many things we learned during the application process and are addressing with this Task Force is a need to more broadly engage the senior community in order to better understand and address their needs and concerns,” said Task Force Co-Chairperson Jim Donio, who is an active community volunteer and a Co-Founder of the Eagle Theatre. “Another is to be more inclusive by embracing the diversity in our community in order to bring everyone together, from businesses and faith leaders to community groups and residents.”

The Task Force has also kicked-off planning to establish a Hammonton Community Fund which would initially be targeted to help with Covid-19 economic relief efforts. “This has been an unprecedented economic shutdown with effects that no one could have predicted,” said Task Force member Rich Rehmann, President of ARH Associates, Inc. “The Task Force is fortunate to be in a position where we can leverage both the resources we have brought together within the community, along with the expertise of the CFSJ to bring hope to those facing challenges brought about by the immediate effects of the virus and longer-standing systemic issues that we face.”

“During this time of crisis and uncertainty, we are inspired by how our community partners are stepping up to meet the evolving needs and challenges associated with the impacts of Coronavirus throughout South Jersey,” said CFSJ Executive Director Andy Fraizer. “Community Foundation is committed to working with our partners to address both the immediate needs of our neighbors and to plan for the longer-term needs of our communities.”

“We strongly believe following the Heart & Soul model will not only improve the constant engagement required by all stakeholders and community members within the town, but it will also lead to a long-standing, positive impact throughout the Hammonton community,” Donio concluded.

Community Foundation of South Jersey

The Community Foundation of South Jersey (CFSJ) envisions an eight-county region thriving where all neighbors aspire, succeed, participate, and give. The vision is realized as CFSJ inspires generosity, manages and deploys permanent charitable assets, and exercises collaborative leadership to create a more equitable region.

CFSJ works with South Jersey philanthropists, local nonprofits, and neighbors to build capital, contribute assets, and create permanent endowments for impact in perpetuity. By aligning donor interests and using the investment earnings on each of its endowed funds, CFSJ makes grants and builds leadership within the community to create thriving, equitable, and livable communities for all.

Currently, CFSJ manages assets of $22 million in donor-advised funds. Along with its fund-holders, CFSJ has issued more than $9 million in nonprofit grants and scholarships. Learn more about CFSJ at

Bright Side Recent News

Volunteer Opportunities at Jewish Family Service – How You Can Lend a Helping Hand in Your Community

JFS staff member Chris Barone unloads a vehicle of donated non-perishable goods for the Food Pantry, located in the Margate office. The Food Pantry is open Monday through Friday from 10am to 2pm to residents to pick-up hearty and nutritious food and snacks. For more information on receiving items from the Food Pantry, call the JFS Access Center at 609.822.1108 x1. (Photo courtesy of Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties)

Margate, NJ (June 08, 2020) – Volunteerism is the backbone of any non-profit agency, and Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties is no different. With more than 8,000 clients assisted throughout the year, including more than 200 older adults, JFS volunteers are valued members of our organization.

That’s why JFS is always looking for caring and enthusiastic volunteers to assist with programs including the Food Pantry and Shop at Home. Volunteers have the flexibility to choose their schedule including the best days, time and programs to assist JFS clients. This is a great chance to lend a hand and help JFS and residents of your community.

JFS Food Pantry (Margate office location)

Volunteers will organize, sort and stock non-perishable donated items Monday through Friday from 10am to 2pm. While JFS has carts and bags available, you may need to carry 10lbs. to 20lbs. of merchandise.

Delivery of Food Bags

Every Tuesday, JFS needs volunteers to deliver non-perishable food to community members. You would need a vehicle and cell phone as well as familiarity with the area or use of GPS.


If you enjoy food shopping, then the Shop-at-Home program is for you. You would be assigned a client to speak with in order to secure their shopping list. Then, you’ll be provided an Acme card to complete the shopping, which would need to be done Tuesday through Thursday. Finally, you would deliver the items to the client.

All JFS volunteers are required to complete an application and timesheet. The health and safety of our volunteers and clients is of the utmost importance. Therefore, we enforce social distancing with limited interaction.

For more information on JFS volunteer programs and guidelines, contact Vanessa Smith at or Mary DeMarco at

Bright Side Community Calendar News

New Jersey Dept. of Agriculture Kicks Off #ThankYouFarmers Contest

(TRENTON) – New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher today announced the #thankyouNJfarmers social media photo contest that will begin on Wednesday, June 10. Each week, there will be two selected winners who will each receive a $250 gift card for fresh produce to a Jersey Fresh market of choice, plus a Jersey Fresh NJ-shaped cutting board. An overall winner will receive a $500 gift card to a Jersey Fresh market of choice. Funding for this program is provided by USDA grant allocations.

The contest will run through September 1 with the final weekly winners being announced Sept. 2. The overall winner will be announced Sept. 9.

To enter the contest, share photos of Jersey Fresh farmers, farms, markets, or produce with the hashtag #thankyouNJfarmers and make sure to mention the farmer, farm, or market name. Using the #thankyouNJfarmers hashtag on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram will automatically enter you to win.

“This contest will be a great opportunity to showcase the essential work our farmers do every day,” Secretary Fisher said. “They grow outstanding fruits and vegetables year after year and are the reason the Jersey Fresh brand is so trusted. We know consumers will be creative and enthusiastic in highlighting the many sectors of agriculture in the Garden State.”

The weekly winners will be chosen from photographs posted on social media using the #thankyouNJfarmers hashtag. Starting Wednesday each week, contestants will have until the following Tuesday to post their #thankyouNJfarmers photos.

The weekly winners will be announced each Wednesday on the Jersey Fresh Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. There is a limit of four gift cards and/or $1,000 allowed to be allocated to any one Jersey Fresh market.

To learn more about Jersey Fresh, visit, Facebook at, Twitter @JerseyFreshNJDA, or Instagram @JerseyFreshNJDA.

To learn more about the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, find us on Facebook at and Twitter @NJDA.