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{ 4 }  SNJ Today  |  MARCH 23, 2022                                                                                MARCH 23, 2022  |  { 5 }
                                                  COMMUNITY UPDATE

     However, when hosting an online event,   Veterans Sought
     be sure to create rules and protocols.                                                  Area Organizations Join Together
        Write a press release: Another one of   To Serve as Diversion                              to Fight Food Insecurity
     the ways to market your small business is   Program Peer Mentors
     a press release. Never underestimate the   The Cumberland County Prosecutor’s   Statistics show that one in nine homes in Cumberland County experiences food
     power press releases have for attracting   Office Veterans Diversion Program (VDP)   insecurity. Recognizing the need to help alleviate this issue, the Vineland Rotary
     the attention of the media. Write a press   is designed to assist individuals who have   Club recently provided 340 spaghetti dinners to people in need.
     release to a positive event or contribution   served in the U.S. Military and now have   Donna Bennett, Club president, explained, “Providing community service is an
     your business made and send it to local   come into contact with the criminal justice   essential aspect of what we do as Rotarians. During a time when there’s limited or
     media. The event should be significant   system. If an individual is accepted into and   uncertain access to adequate food supplies our Club continues to see the impor-
     such as donating a sum of money to help   successfully completes the program, it is   tance of focusing on community projects that help address and lessen the anxiety
     a local hospital or hosting a 5K run for a   possible for the individual to avoid a crimi-  that comes with food insecurities. I especially thank the Cumberland Cape Atlantic
     good cause. Press releases are a valuable   nal conviction.                YMCA for sponsoring our second annual spaghetti dinner to feed our community.
     tool to spread your news across various   The goal of the program is to reduce   The Y’s donation of $2,000 helped us provide a warm meal on a Sunday afternoon
     outlets and can be cost-efficient.   veteran contacts with the criminal justice   to many individuals.”
        Network with other local business-  system, reduce the number of incarcerated   George Steinbronn, Jr., the Y’s CEO, said, “Our YMCA is deeply committed to
     es: Small businesses need to stick togeth-  veterans, reduce the costs to the public and   improving the quality of health of families in our area. We were glad to be a lead
     er and aid each other as part of a commu-  provide services and support for veterans.   sponsor of this event which so effectively matched agencies with those in need of a
     nity. Find a local or online small business   Oftentimes it used to assist veterans who   nutritious meal.”
     that meshes well with your own and ask   find themselves falling victim to substance   The menu included a complete dinner of spaghetti and meatballs, salad with
     to hold a combined event or contest. Two   abuse and becoming involved in criminal   dressing, rolls and butter, and a variety of desserts. Approximately 25 Rotarians and
     small businesses working together means   activities. Additionally, the program is   their spouses cooked and packaged the foods. They worked for hours to have the
     more opportunities to share a larger table   meant to help veterans whose behavior may   dinners ready for pickup or to be dropped off where needed.
     at a trade show or event, creating more   be caused by post traumatic stress disorder,   The receiving agencies were the Cumberland County Family Shelter, Vineland
     opportunities to market your small busi-  mental health issues, traumatic brain inju-  Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, M-25 Initiative, Mission Teens,
     ness. In addition, both businesses can   ries and other physical injuries that are a   Ranch Hope, and Salvation Army, plus a group of families displaced by a Millville
     advertise a larger prize to attract more   result of their time in the service.   fire.
     audiences for a contest and build word of   VDP is a partnership between the   Andy Browne, fundraising chair of the Vineland Rotary Club, said, “Our Club
     mouth for your brand.                Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office,   works really well together as a team. When you unify, you can do so much, and I
        Customer rewards program: Show    local law enforcement agencies, veteran’s   give credit to the Club.
     appreciation to your loyal customers by   administrators, state and county agencies,   “Everyone seemed genuinely thank-
     creating a customer rewards program.   volunteers, community based organizations   ful,” Browne added. “We know that
     Rewards programs are a great market-  and medical treatment facilities to assist   the food definitely went to people who
     ing way to ensure your valued customers   veterans in the criminal justice system. A   needed it.” He also extended thanks to
     revisit your business instead of a com-  vital component of the VDP is to provide   the YMCA for its role in supporting the
     petitor. For example, you can have cus-  such veterans with as much assistance and   project, saying “When the Y heard that
     tomers enter their phone number, email,   support as possible in order to for them to   we needed help with our fundraising,
     or give them a rewards card to enter   have the best chance of being successful.   they donated to our cause. We hope to
     each time during checkout. The rewards   For this reason, the Cumberland County   continue to partner with them, as our
     can be as large or as small as you want   Prosecutor’s Office is actively seeking addi-  mission at Rotary dovetails with the
     them to be. For example, after every 10   tional peer mentors to support program eli-  YMCA’s mission.”
     purchases, your customer can receive a   gible service members through the criminal   For more information about the
     $5 off coupon.  Not only are customer   justice system while also assisting in their   Rotary Club, visit
     rewards programs good for marketing   individual treatment plans.
     to your audience but it also helps build   A mentor is intended to encourage,   Rotarian Eileen Duffy, left, distributes some
                                                                                of the meals to Dawn Garrison, of Ranch
     brand loyalty.                       guide, and support the veteran mentee.   Hope.
        Marketing ideas for your small busi-  Mentors should be good listeners and be
     ness are achievable through technology   willing to spend the time necessary to
     and local events allowing small busi-  understand the concerns of the veteran   responding Reserve or Guard branches.   program/#intro and complete the online
     nesses to efficiently budget, advertise,   mentee. Mentors do not need a legal back-  Training for mentors will be provided.   application. A representative from the New
     create awareness, and network at a low   ground or experience, just a desire to help   Individuals who wish to volunteer as a   Jersey Department of Military and Veteran
     cost. Remember, marketing locally can be   a fellow veteran. Generally, mentors are   mentor must complete an application, a   Affairs (DMAVA) will reach out to you with
     a cost-efficient way to aid your business   expected to make weekly contact with their   background check and submit their DD214   training information, including the date,
     in ganging notice and recognition. n                                      verifying an honorable discharge or proof of   time, and location (virtual or in-person).
                                          assigned veteran through a phone call or   being on active duty.            DMAVA hopes to have a mentor train-
                                          an in-person meeting. Mentors must be a
        This week’s blog was written by   veteran of one of the branches of the U.S.   To apply to be a mentor, visit the State   ing in May or June of 2022. Any questions
     Clearbridge Branding Agency’s Rowan   Military, including the Marine Corps, Navy,   of New Jersey Department of Military and   regarding the Cumberland County VDP
     University intern, Emily Kowalenko.  Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, or their cor-  Veteran Affairs Website using the follow-  Continued on next page
                                                                               ing link:
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