A township-based volunteer organization is looking to spread the love this Valentine's Day to children in need.
Residents will soon receive a fundraising appeal in the mail from the Love Fund of Wyckoff, asking for donations to help finance their charitable mission.
"There are always people who need help," said the Rev. David Bach of the Wyckoff Reformed Church.
Finding and supporting those who need assistance has been the goal of the nonprofit organization for more than 10 years. The Love Fund of Wyckoff has distributed up to $50,000 per year to Wyckoff families (and families of those who work in the township) who have children in need of help. Whether it's paying medical bills, funding summer camp, buying clothes or even paying for braces, the Wyckoff Love Fund exists to lift up those who have fallen on hard times.
"It's very rewarding," said trustee Jan Meyer.
Bach, the chairman of the Love Fund, helped establish the group in memory of his son, Robert, who died in 1991 at 18 after battling cancer. Robert Bach was appreciative of the support he received from the Ramapo High School community during his struggle, and Rev. Bach soon wanted to find a way to help care for other children in Wyckoff. The Midland Park Love Fund, which is independent from the Wyckoff group, helped Bach get the local organization running, which found an eager sponsor in the Wyckoff Clergy Association.
Today, nine trustees administer the Love Fund, which operates year-round, save for a break in the summer. Township clergy are well-represented on the board, with the Rev. Jim Knol of the Christian Health Care Center, the Rev. David Wiley of Grace United Methodist Church, Rabbi Kenneth Emert of Temple Beth Rishon and the Rev. Norm Brown of Cedar Hill Christian Reformed Church joining Bach. Residents Susan Yudin, Meyer, Pat Khanjian and Lynn Clark round out the board of trustees, which meets monthly.
The trustees said that some have a hard time asking for help during tough times. In response, the fund's recipients are not made public, and the trustees promise confidentiality. Someone looking for Love Fund assistance would meet with at least two trustees, who would take the case back to the full board, which would then decide how to help, based on need and available funds. The Love Fund doesn't simply provide a family with a check; rather, the organization directly pays for whatever the recipient needs help with.
Currently, trustees are looking at several cases of families with children who could use monetary assistance, and the Love Fund is available whenever someone needs help. The group disbursed aid to more families last year than in any other year, and often reviews new cases monthly.
"Each one is different," Yudin said. As long as a child has a true need, the Love Fund can help.
Of course, the organization can't operate without the good will of the community, which Bach called the "backbone" of the nonprofit organization. The Wyckoff Chamber of Commerce, Lions Club, individual businesses and houses of worship all have been great supporters of the Love Fund, trustees said, and the organization is greatly helped by residents' donations, as well.
Traditionally, the Love Fund conducts a fundraising appeal timed for Valentine's Day, but the organization will gladly accept assistance year-round. No donation is too small. If you'd like to help, send a (tax-deductible) donation to The Love Fund of Wyckoff, 580 Wyckoff Ave., Wyckoff, NJ 07481. If you're a parent with a child in need, or know of a family that could use Love Fund assistance, write the group at the aforementioned address or contact Bach at 201-891-1782. All discussions will be kept confidential.