We have the pleasure of featuring Allison and Eugene Vitagliano in our June Supporter Corner. Allison and Eugene have been long-time, dedicated supporters of Moms Helping Moms. Learn more about the many ways that they have been involved in the organization over the years!
1. How did you learn about Moms Helping Moms Foundation?
Allison: I was first introduced to MHM and Bridget Cutler through a mutual friend at a small event/gathering in New Providence. It was shortly after MHM was featured on CNN heroes and the piece was played during the event. I immediately fell in love with the idea of helping local families and I knew it was something our entire family could get involved with. Shortly after, my husband became aware of an opportunity through his corporate job to assist MHM at their (I believe) original warehouse. It’s been 4 maybe 5 years now and it’s been so awesome to see their efforts grow!
2. What makes you passionate about the cause?
Allison: As a mother, I just can’t imagine how difficult it would be to not be able to provide the basic necessities for my children. Being able to help local families and build a bond within the community is special. MHM is doing important work….and they are making a difference.
Eugene: We are passionate for this cause because it’s so important that parents be able to give the appropriate care to their children. It’s so important for moms to know that there’s a place like MHM’s they can depend on for that help.
3. What other causes are important to you?
Allison: In 2011, my mother passed away from complications arising from a bone marrow transplant after being diagnosed with leukemia. Since then, we have supported the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, particularly through their “Light the Night” annual walks. Recently, we have become involved with the Scotch Plains/Fanwood Jam Kancer and the Kan Foundation. Through a fun, local fundraising event, we raise money to support families affected by cancer. The goal is to inspire others to stage “Kancer Jams” in their communities and help others battling this vile disease.
Eugene: I recently had a friend and coworker pass away from brain cancer. Since then I have been involved in raising money for continued research in his name. Also, we are involved in giving back in our community. For the past few years, around the holidays, we have unanimously donated gift cards to two of the schools in our town so they can be distributed to families that can use some help.
4. When did you first learn about the importance of giving back?
Allison: I learned by watching my mother. Even though growing up we didn’t have much, my mother always found ways to give of her time and money any way she could. Giving back is just my way of life and something I hope my children will learn from my husband and I.
Eugene: I first learned of the importance of giving back when I was in grade school. I had an uncle that was handicap and needed help with some everyday things. I helped my mother take care of him whenever I could and from then I would always look to see how I could help make a difference.
5. Which living person/people do you admire most?
Allison: Definitely my in-laws. They are just amazing people with giving hearts. They would literally give someone in need the shirt off their backs.
Eugene: My parents.
6. What do you enjoy most about summer?
Allison: Ahhhhhh SUMMER…..I love having free, unstructured time to be together as a family and to go and do anything we want. It’s a time to meet up with friends, spend time together, laugh, make memories and be adventurous.
Eugene: The thing I enjoy the most about summer is making memories with our family. From BBQ’s and dips in the pool, to trips to the beach and family vacations they all provide us with memories and quality time spent with each other.
A PERFECT EXAMPLE:
One of the reasons we have loved being involved with MHMs is because we have been able to involve our children and allow them to see for themselves all the ways we can help make a difference. In the past, we have taken the kids to Target to buy diapers and dropped them at a “Fill-the-Truck” event or asked them to sort clothes to be dropped at the warehouse. This past holiday season, we reached out to Bridget to see if there was a way we could help a specific family in a meaningful way. We were given the opportunity to buy gifts, specifically bikes and scooters, for a family. The kids helped pick helmets and shop for these items and we delivered them to the warehouse. We really hoped it would be a great learning experience for the kids. Five months later, this project came home in my son’s backpack (see attached picture). We never mentioned “kindness” to the kids….but obviously they were able to piece our actions together. Of course academics are important, but in our eyes, raising kind, compassionate and giving children is just as important. THIS spoke volumes to us that our children will do as they see. Thank you to MHM for helping to inspire the next generation of givers. xo