Mendham’s Compassion for the Community


Philanthropy has always been a major part of Mendham’s large and welcoming community and is commonplace in the high school hallways.  West Morris Mendham High School’s International Baccalaureate Programs encourage student involvement in numerous philanthropy projects. Every year, students that are enrolled in the program are introduced to different organizations that have parallel values to our high school. Once they pick an organization that they feel speaks to them, they raise both awareness and money for it. This year, the class of 2020 decided to work with the following organizations: Snap Inc., Deirdre’s House, Children’s Specialized Hospital, The Cancer Support Community of New Jersey, Community Soup Kitchen, Homeless Solutions, Heifer International, Interfaith Food Pantry, Community Food Bank, Eleventh Good Dog Rescue, NJ Stays, Barnyard Sanctuary, Disabled American Veterans, Paws of War, GI Go Fund, CCD Smiles, and World Vision. All of these organizations benefit a specific cause with great intention. On December 12th, 2018, representatives from these organizations visited the students involved giving them the privilege of witnessing the effects of their hard work and fundraising.

During this time of year, especially while celebrating the holidays, it sometimes goes unnoticed how fortunate some are to have a roof over their heads, food in their stomachs, a safe home, and good health. However, some are not as privileged. This makes the work of these organizations incredibly important. Narrowing in on family dynamics and a safe home, Deirdre’s House helps children of neglect, those who have suffered child abuse (verbal, physical, etc.). They work to digitally report interviews with the children to ensure that the child only has to tell their story once and provides Spanish and English services free of charge. Maria Savattere represented Deirdre’s House at this year’s event. Savattere describes her favorite experiences with Deirdre’s House being whenever she sees a child she has been involved with for a long period of time pushing the send button on their Common Application as she sees “they are on their way to being successful adults”. The work of Deirdre’s House betters the lives of these children providing them with hope, opportunity, and the safety that they previously did not have.

Another organization that stood out, as providing the necessity of food which is often taken for granted, is the Community Soup Kitchen, located in Morristown, New Jersey. This organization’s primary focus is to serve meals to those who are unable to provide meals for themselves. They are willing to accept anyone, without questions asked regarding their circumstances. The organization prides themselves on their dedication to those who need their help the most as they have kept their doors open for over thirty-four years, even through Nor’easters, holidays and hurricanes, they have managed to keep their perfect attendance, making sure all of their community has full stomachs. Aside from helping feed those in need, the Community Soup Kitchen of Morristown focuses on creating a healthy, family-friendly, and opening environment for all of its members.

The Cancer Support Community of NJ also visited the students. This organization is so important as the detrimental effects of cancer have an incredible reach. The Cancer Support Community of New Jersey is a non-profit organization working to help people who have or are experiencing cancer in any way through a relative, friend, or directly. They give support to families through events like movie nights, support groups, culinary arts classes. A specific target for the organization is helping children affected by cancer typically through loved ones. They provide social connection and support groups for the children through organizing activities with other kids who are affected. The representative described how important their service for these children is by describing a time when she was playing candy land with an eight-year-old boy and he said: “How am I supposed to feel?” She has helped this boy understand and work through the effects of cancer on his family, making him one of the many touched by The Cancer Support Community of New Jersey.

From afar it may be easy to underestimate the amount of labor, love, and dedication it takes, but the lending hands all these organizations keep our community running and happy. Although it may appear that the actions these volunteers are making are minor they deeply affect many individuals and are life-changing.