The Partnership for Haddonfield has announced a pair of fundraisers intended to help two borough families who were displaced by floods that accompanied the vicious rain and wind storms that swept through on June 20.
The primary charitable effort for the Vespe and Luciotti families is called “Flood of Support: For Victims of the Haddonfield Flood,” and is slated to take place on Thursday, Aug. 15 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at participating retailers and eateries.
Involving more than a dozen businesses in downtown Haddonfield, a percentage of each sale made during that three-hour period will be donated to various GoFundMe pages that have been set up since the flood.
“Shortly after the storms, I learned that some local families were left homeless. I don’t actually know them, but there are no strangers in Haddonfield. I felt a sense of obligation to give back in their time of need, (as in the old maxim) ‘To whom much is given, much is required,’” said Andrea Marcelle, owner of Maison Marcelle on Kings Highway.
“I began to research and found that a mealtrain.com page had been set up. It was easy to deliver a few French-inspired meals and support with an individual donation, but for our neighbors who have lost so much, that seemed so small. I felt confident that if I could rally the other retailers to join in hosting an event, together we could make a more substantial contribution. They were quick to say ‘yes,’ and with the support of the PfH, more than a dozen local retailers will be donating to our neighbors in need.”
The additional fundraiser involves bracelets featured in Haddonfield’s traditional red and black. “Haddonfield Strong” planned to sell them for a $3 suggested donation each.
Those who wish to support the HF Strong initiative are being asked to do so in two ways: make a donation at the Haddonfield Farmer’s Market on Saturday, Aug. 10 (rain date Aug. 17), or to buy a bracelet at participating downtown businesses from Aug. 10-16.
“Katie Bryan, Lisa George and I started ‘Haddonfield Strong’ together as a way to get our community involved and raise more funds for the families. I was inspired by Lisa’s and Katie’s compassionate response and dedication to helping these families,” noted borough resident and photographer Sara Blackburn.
“Grayson Vespe is in Cub Scouts with my son in Pack 65, and I couldn’t believe he was living in an RV on his front lawn. Most of us have wristbands from other fundraisers and Haddonfield gear so we knew that we could combine the two and offer something that people would genuinely enjoy while helping their neighbors. We also envisioned others having the ability to use ‘Haddonfield Strong’ for future community causes.”
While no set percentage of proceeds from the evening was agreed upon by participating businesses, Maison Marcellé is committed to donating 20 percent of its take, and Meraki Market has agreed to do the same.
Though August is typically the time when much of the Delaware Valley – Haddonfield no exception – empties out for various vacation destinations, Marcelle shook off any suggestion that these efforts might not reap the expected windfall.
“I always anticipate the best. In fact, I expect it. No goal has been set, that I’m aware of. Whatever we are able to donate is more than we would have if we’d done nothing. Folks will come out. Kindness is contagious.”
All proceeds from the fundraisers are expected to be divided evenly between the two families.
For a list of businesses in downtown Haddonfield that are expected to participate, visit: https://downtownhaddonfield.com/events/fundraiser-for-victims-of-haddonfield-flood/.
If anyone wishes to donate to the Vespes, their GoFundMe can be found at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/the-vespe-family, while the Luciottis GoFundMe can be found at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-the-luciottis-massive-storm-damage.