Local groups sponsor barbecue for Covenant House kids

| 15 Feb 2012 | 09:03

SPARTA — The Knights of Columbus of Sparta joined with McGivney & Kluger, P.C., as well as Lakeland Bank and the Rockefeller Group, on Thursday, Aug. 11 to sponsor a block party for homeless teens living at Covenant House New Newark. Covenant House is the largest privately funded agency in the Americas for homeless, at-risk, and runaway youth. About 125 Covenant House kids feasted on a spread of barbecued food, while youth groups from St. Philip’s and Teen Groove on the Move organized dancing, kite flying, games and a marshmallow roast. While many people take these summertime activities for granted, most Covenant House kids have never experienced these summertime staples. For these kids, the block party was far from typical. Instead, most have faced unbelievable trials outside of Covenant House, such as gang violence, prostitution and abuse. Kevin Cavanagh, Chief Financial Officer at McGivney & Kluger and organizer of the block party, discusses the firm’s involvement with Covenant House. “My employer, Charles McGivney of McGivney & Kluger, has been a long time supporter of Covenant House. Last year, he asked me to work with Marquette Council 588 in organizing a Christmas Dinner for the teenagers and staff...We prepared a Christmas feast for about 250 people that was enjoyed by all and very successful.” After the seeing the success of the Christmas feast, the idea of a summertime block party was born. It seemed to be the perfect way to celebrate a different season while bringing love and support to Covenant House. Through the collective efforts of many dedicated individuals, kids at Covenant House Newark were able to experience a genuine summer cookout. Phil Tangorra, Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus in Sparta who is also employed at McGivney & Kluger, described the experience. “The kids were incredibly gracious. It was an absolute joy to prepare the event for them. We had a great time sharing laughs, preparing the food and enjoying the smells of the grill. Through our work with Covenant House, I have learned so much. It’s unbelievable what these kids go through on a daily basis. If we have turned one life around with our efforts, we have made a difference. We look forward to putting on the next Christmas dinner.” Cavanagh said, “I personally found the entire experience very rewarding because when you think about everything these kids must endure in their lives, it is nice fun to allow them to enjoy themselves for a day and get a very well-cooked meal. The kids are great and really appreciate our support. It is a pleasure to assist and serve them.” Jill Rottmann, Executive Director of Covenant House New Jersey, said, “We are incredibly blessed to have organizations such as McGivney & Kluger and the Knights of Columbus to support us. Through their collective efforts, our kids experienced joy and summertime normalcy for a day. For everyone at Covenant House, that means so much. We are thankful to have organizations in our area that support Covenant House’s mission and New Jersey’s youth.”