Thanks, Virtually

by Russell Swanson, Exec. Dir., VDID, Main Street Vineland

April is known nationally as Volunteer Appreciation Month and we in Main Street Vineland have recognized our volunteers over the years with an informal event—some food, a light program, and good socialization.

We were to have such an event this week but, with the COVID-19 quarantine, we now aim to have it later in the year—along with an event to recruit new volunteers, I thought it only fitting to use this column for a “virtual” recognition of our volunteers and all the work they do.

Associate Director Robert Scarpa and I make up the office staff. Maintenance men Wayne Joslin and Jared Bardoe work on the outside. For all we do, however, the rubber doesn’t really hit the road without the work of the volunteers who support our efforts.

It starts with the cooperation and support of our Board of Directors—Chairperson Brian Lankin, Vice-Chair Dennis Ingraldi, and Corresponding Secretary/Treasurer Reginald Johnson, as well as Edgar Calderon, Macleod Carré, Lizzy Kennedy, Hernando Perez, Caleb Soto, and Paul Spinelli—the latter being City Council liaison. They provide tremendous support and encouragement.

We then have our team chairpersons—Andre Rivera for the Organization Team, Vanessa Sosa for Design, Susan Sauro for Promotions, and Sarah Bradway Johnson for our Economic Vitality Team. Individually and collectively, they help us implement the Four-Point Approach that has been the hallmark of the National Main Street Vineland.

Another important element is made up of all the “worker bees” who turn the ideas discussed at the staff, Board, and team leadership levels into reality. Ideas are fine, but you need the “people power” to bring those ideas to fruition—to raise the money, come up with work plans, and do the grunt work. And they often are the future leaders of the organization. Volunteers have come aboard as “worker bees” and, with their dedication, ideas, and enthusiasm, have risen within Main Street Vineland. Whether you’re someone new or someone who’s been with us for the 15 years that Main Street Vineland has existed, you have a chance to make a difference. So, I want to salute all of those who are doing the good work of Main Street Vineland. Your dedication to the cause of The Ave is there for all to see.

When our Volunteer Appreciation and Volunteer Recruitment events are rescheduled, we hope to see those who have worked with us—as well as those who are interested in joining us. Katrina D’Alessandro has joined us as Volunteer Coordinator and she’ll be glad to meet all of you.

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A reminder to go to the home page of our website—The Ave.biz—for links to initiatives to help our local businesses during these hard economic times.

• Take a simple test to determine for what COVID-19 relief programs your business could be eligible. We’re working on programs to keep our businesses up and running, as well as solvent.

• Take the online pledge through Main Street Vineland and the Greater Vineland Chamber of Commerce to support your local businesses. Just visit Main Street Vineland’s website at TheAve.biz or the Facebook page (facebook.com/mainstreetvineland).

• Support our local restaurants on The Ave by participating in the “Dine The Ave” Restaurant Gift Card Giveaway. We at Main Street Vineland have organized the monthlong giveaway in cooperation with New Jersey’s Heartland, and with generous sponsorship by Century Savings Bank. Win a $25 gift card to a participating restaurant on The Ave (listed on the website and Facebook page, also how to enter). The drawing takes place on April 30.

We regularly post updates on our website and Facebook page. We also work with the Greater Vineland Chamber of Commerce. They have added information to their website—vinelandchamber.org—and have started a Facebook group—Vineland Chamber Business Bunch—where businesses can post announcements.

On The Ave