Posted on May 17, 2013
Ready for a feel-good story for your Friday? This morning we received a very special donation from the congregation of Wesley United Methodist Church of Columbus… Personal Care Packages! The packages include items like toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, soap, snacks and more for Twin Oaks Food Pantry consumers.
Maryann and June dropped off the packages and explained that the church likes to give back to their surrounding community. Thank you Wesley United Methodist Church, your thoughtful donation makes a difference to Twin Oaks consumers!
For more information on how to donate to Twin Oaks, visit http://twinoakscs.org/giving.
Posted on May 10, 2013
Our friends from Keller Williams Realty Burlington County recently celebrated their RED Day (Renew, Energize and Donate) at our Mt. Holly Food Pantry. Each May, Keller Williams associates across North America honor their commitment to improving local communities by donating time to neighborhood projects. The team from Keller Williams Realty Burlington County rolled up their sleeves and cleaned, organized and restocked our pantry shelves with food they brought for our consumers. They also did laundry and replenished the free store with clothes they donated.
It was hard work, but the Keller Williams team was eager to jump right in and help us! Thanks everyone for your time, assistance and donations!
Posted on May 3, 2013
Did you see the fabulous photos from our fourth annual Haddonfield Progressive Dinner? Visit our Flickr page to view all the photos from the wonderful event.
Thanks again to all the hosts, chefs, community members and local businesses that made this event so successful!
Posted on April 23, 2013
The Twin Oaks Bridging Family Support program provides intensive in-home support services for children with developmental disabilities and their families. Most often the diagnosis is an autism spectrum disorder and a behavioral disorder. The program can be a lifeline for families struggling to care for their child’s special needs in the home.
Individualized treatment plans for both the child and family can include one-on-one individual support, time with behavioral specialists, education, family training and respite care. The ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life for the child and family.
Nancy shares the story of her son Conner and their journey with Bridging Family Support—
Conner lives with my husband, his 8 year-old sister Kate, and me. Early on, Conner’s development was just like any other child’s. He was meeting all his developmental milestones, walking, laughing, smiling, and speaking his first words. Then suddenly, around 18 months, there was a change. Something was different about my son. After countless visits to various doctors, Conner was diagnosed with Autism.
Seven years later, the words “Your son has Autism” still echo in my head. At age 11, Connor is hyperactive and physically aggressive. He displays self-abusive injuries and frequently throws tantrums. Conner requires assistance with daily living skills and is not toilet trained. Also, he is non-verbal and requires constant supervision.
Thankfully, when the Bridging Family Support program came into our lives and home, things began to change. The team collaborates with Conner’s school and therapists to teach us alternative ways of working with him. Every day the support person comes to our house to get Conner off the school bus and the lessons begin. After only 4 weeks, Conner has reached so many personal achievements, including a decrease in self-abusive injuries and an increase in bathroom use.
Our family is learning a great deal from his support specialist. They taught us how to model communication, block aggressive behaviors and ignore other behaviors to show Conner what is expected of him. We are aware that it takes little steps, but we are walking toward future independence.
This article was featured in our Fall newsletter.
Posted on April 16, 2013
We featured the article below, “How to Help Your Child Cope with Fear and Violence,” in our Winter newsletter. Unfortunately, after the bombings yesterday in Boston, we want to again take this opportunity to share this article with all of you who may be facing the difficult task of helping your child cope with fear and violence.
On December 14, 2012, America endured a tragedy that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut when a gunman shot and killed 26 people inside an elementary school. Sadly, this was not the first time in American history when violence changed the halls of a school from safe to scary. Here are a few tips* to help the children in your life cope with these events:
- Encourage children to talk about their concerns and to express their feelings. Some children may be hesitant to initiate such conversation, so you may want to prompt them by asking if they feel safe. Encourage them to express their feelings through talking, drawing or playing.
- Validate the child’s feelings. Do not minimize a child’s concerns.
- Talk honestly about your own feelings regarding violence. It is important for children to recognize they are not dealing with their fears alone.
- Discuss the safety procedures that are in place at your child’s school, in your neighborhood, and in other public places.
- Create safety plans with your child. Help identify which adults your child can talk to if he or she feels threatened. Also ensure that your child knows how to reach you in case of crisis.
- Keep the dialogue going and make safety a common topic in family discussions rather than just a response to an immediate crisis.
- Seek help when necessary. If you are worried about a child’s reaction or have ongoing concerns about his or her behavior or emotions, contact your pediatrician or a mental health professional.
* Tips provided by Mental Health America, www.mentalhealthamerica.net.
We featured this topical article in our Winter Newsletter. Read the entire newsletter here.
Posted on April 10, 2013
The evening begins at the stunning home of Joan Carter and John Aglialoro for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. After the cocktail reception, guests move on to dinner with friends prepared by a talented area chef in the home of their choice. This year, we have some amazing restaurants participating. Here’s a sneak peek of a mouthwatering recipe featured in this event’s cookbook from Chef Pete Severino of Severino Pasta Company:
Trenette with Baby Peas, Onions and Pancetta
3 ounces pancetta
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 shallots, finely chopped
14 ounces shelled baby peas
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 ½ tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
½ cup dry white wine
1 ¼ cup chicken broth
½ teaspoon and 1 ½ tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon green peppercorns
1 pound fresh pasta, cut into mafaldine (ribbon shaped)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Fresh Parmesan cheese
Chop pancetta and set aside. Warm olive oil in deep skillet over medium-low heat. Increase heat to medium and add pancetta. Sauté until pancetta begins to color. Add shallots and sauté until wilted. Stir in peas, parsley and mint, continuing to sauté. Add dry white wine and let evaporate. Stir in broth and ½ teaspoon of salt. Add green peppercorns. Simmer gently until peas are cooked. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil, add pasta and 1½ tablespoons of salt. Let water return to boil and cook for 15 seconds. Drain pasta and toss with the sauce and butter. Serve with fresh Parmesan cheese.
Hope to see you at the dinner!
Posted on April 5, 2013
It’s a harsh reality that children in South Jersey wake up hungry and head off to school hungry. They must try to focus in class, take tests and make the grade while fighting hunger pains. Last month alone, the Twin Oaks Food Pantries provided 3,294 meals for 366 children.
Thankfully, Twin Oaks partners with Hunger Heroes like the Hainesport Township School District that have creative ideas on ways to stock our shelves with kid friendly food. In February, with the Valentine’s Day Dance approaching, the school encouraged students in Pre-Kindergarten through 5th Grade to donate a box of cereal they loved at the entrance to the dance. Boxes of Cheerios, Fruit Loops and (my personal favorite) Apple Jacks poured in.
Here’s a snapshot of just a few of the boxes we received:
We applaud the Hainesport Township School District for bringing awareness to the community issue of food insecurity and teaching their students to give to others in need.
We started handing out the cereal right away to food insecure families who visited our Food Pantry in Mt. Holly. And for now, many food insecure children in our area will head to school and focus on their studies instead of worrying where their next meal will come from.
If you’d like to make a donation or to hold your own food drive, visit our Food Pantry page.
Posted on April 2, 2013
Brianna is a sixteen year old mother of an infant. Six months ago, Brianna joined the Twin Oaks Teenage Parents Program (TAPP) which supports young adults in their transition to parenthood. Brianna receives diapers and baby wipes from TAPP when they are available, but TAPP’s supply is reliant on donations received through the Diaper Derby. Because Brianna juggles being a full-time student and mother, she is unable to contribute to her family’s income. This means Brianna’s mother is the sole provider for a household of 6 and expensive diapers cut into the family’s tight budget. Donations made to the Diaper Derby drive directly aid Brianna, her family and most importantly, her baby.
Remember, there are many ways YOU can help:
- Run your OWN Diaper Derby. Get your classmates, co-workers or community involved. Twin Oaks will provide you with a toolkit including collection bins, posters and email templates. *This is a great activity for middle and high school students!
- Drop off donations to a Twin Oaks location.
- Donate online or mail monetary contributions to: Twin Oaks Community Services, 770 Woodlane Road, Suite 16, Mt. Holly, NJ 08060.
Posted on March 25, 2013
Break out your cocktail dress, ladies and gentlemen, pick out your tie… Registration is now open for our 4th Annual Haddonfield Progressive Dinner! This event brings community members and local chefs together for an evening of fine dining, fun and fundraising!
This year, the evening begins with a cocktail reception at the stunning home of Joan Carter and John Aglialoro. After that, guests will split up and go to one of ten dinner homes of community members who have graciously opened their doors to us. Guests will enjoy a gourmet dinner and dessert prepared by a local chef (2013 restaurants include Amis Trattoria, ChopHouse and Severino Pasta Company just to name a few!).
Proceeds from this year’s event will benefit our Food Pantry and children and adults with developmental disabilities in our programs.
To learn more about the dinner and to RSVP, visit our Haddonfield Progressive Dinner page.
Posted on March 22, 2013
The Burlington County Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Network returned to volunteer their time to stock our Food Pantry shelves. Our company van was packed full of 8,152 pounds of food we received from the Food Bank of South Jersey! The volunteers rolled up their sleeves and unloaded frozen chicken, rice, potatoes, canned goods and more. It was a lot of work, but it was a lot of fun! Take a peek:
Thank you to everyone who helped! Visit the Burlington County Chamber’s website to learn more about the Young Professionals Network. And visit our Food Pantry page if you or your group would like to volunteer in our pantry or hold a food drive to help stock our shelves.