By Melissa DiPento South Jersey Times/Gloucester County Times
It started as a conversation around a coffee table.
For almost a decade, Joyce Rodak wanted to give back after the community had supported her in the days and weeks following September 11, 2001.
The family, from Mantua, lost their husband and father, John Rodak.
In February 2011, Rodak and friends formed JR’s Angels Inc., a group with the mission to provide help and support to individuals and organizations in need.
The group held a bowling fundraiser earlier this year and worked with several local non-profit groups.
After a year and a half of dreaming big and discussing ideas with fellow volunteers, the group may just have finally received the bump it needs.
JR’s Angels was recently added to the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey’s approved donors list, which makes it easier for individuals to donate.
The listing allows corporations and employees to send their contributions directly to JR’s Angels through a payroll deduction.
“To be put on their list of donors is exciting. It opens up a number of different avenues. Some employers match. And we’re in Pennsylvania and New Jersey,” Rodak said.
This year, the group has worked with a host of non-profit groups, but hopes to expand its reach with added support from donors.
The group is planning to issue a scholarship to a Clearview Regional High School Senior in 2013.
Chelsea, the Rodak’s oldest daughter, now 21, graduated from Clearview and is about to graduate from Rowan University with a communications degree. Devon, 16, attends the high school currently.
JR’s Angels has also recently contributed both through volunteer work and financially to the Little Rock Foundation, an organization of parents who have children with blindness, visual impairment and other disabilities; the Shadow Equestrian horse farm in Monroeville, which uses horses in therapy; Advancing Opportunities, a special needs organization in Barrington; and the Food Bank of South Jersey’s Kidz Pack program, which provides meals outside of what school lunches provide.
The group also used money it had raised to purchase clothing, food and baby items to donate to victims of Hurricane Sandy.
“Our vision is to go out there and continue to help those in need that we identify,” Rodak said. “We’d like to take our little coffee table even further.”
For more information about JR’s Angels or to find out how to donate, click here.