Good Grief Great Pumpkin Ball Raises $297,000

(l-r) Good Grief Great Pumpkin Ball emcees Clara,16, and Anthony, 10.
(l-r) Good Grief Great Pumpkin Ball emcees Clara,16, and Anthony, 10.

Good Grief’s sixth annual Great Pumpkin Ball raised $297,000 to provide children and families with support following the death of a mother, father, sister, or brother.

The non-profit, which serves more than 550 children and families in New Jersey each year, has centers in Plainsboro and Morristown.

Great Pumpkin Ball attendees heard about Good Grief’s programs. The two guest emcees for the night were both Good Grief participants – Anthony, age 10 and Clara, age 16. Anthony and Clara shared personal stories of how loss and grief has affected them and their families, and how Good Grief helped them.

Clara came to Good Grief after the loss of her father in 2015. “I met people with similar stories and problems, she said. “We understand each other in a way that no one else can. Here we feel safe to be who we really are and express what we really feel. At Good Grief we feel normal.”

Anthony said at Good Grief he learned he was not alone. “Good Grief helped me learn how to play and help other kids going through this sad loss,” he said. “I also learned how to help kids feel better by talking because you have to let the feelings out. You can’t hold them all in.”

Good Grief’s programs are free of charge to grieving families, and all funds raised support delivery of its unlimited programming, organizers say. The average enrollment in Good Grief’s programs is three years.

The 2016 ball was s co-chaired by Shelly Haley and Linda Hough. Corporate sponsors for the event included: Celgene, Private Advisor Group, Atlantic Health, Bayer Healthcare, JBK, AmeriHealth, Atlantic Neurosurgical Specialists, Cindy McCollum & Josh Mackoff, The MCJ Amelior Foundation, Princeton Gastroenterology Associates, Princeton Healthcare System, Strawn Arnold and Terabyte Consulting.