I am beyond excited to announce that the 2018 State of Robbinsville Township Address and Pay it Forward event benefitting the CARE program will be held May 8 at the Stone Terrace by John Henry’s.

This time of year is always bittersweet. When we changed the format of the State of the Township from something we were required to do (a boring and vanilla government luncheon) into something we wanted to do (a potentially life-changing fundraiser for an individual or organization in need), we broke the mold and opened our hearts. The only downside is far too many people are still suffering, and this year is no different.

In 2015, we were thrilled to work with our partners, including Legacy Treatment Services and Hamilton Honda, to supply a disability-accessible van for the Shepherd family. Come 2016, Quilts for Comfort and that organization’s founder, Susan Tonry, were able to use the refurbished Robbins House to weave their magic and comfort those recovering from cancer. Last year, it was former Sharon School teacher Deb Dauer on the receiving end of our “Pay it Forward” initiative, when a disability-accessible bathroom was built to help in her courageous battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

On May 8, we are once again proud to team up with The MidJersey Chamber of Commerce, Recovery Advocates of America and the Way Foundation to help propel the Community Addiction Recovery Effort (C.A.R.E.) to new heights with funding that will help get individuals arrested for opioids/opiates into recovery.

The financial toll of the opioid crisis and its grip on the nation is surpassed only by the human toll, with 105 confirmed overdose deaths in 2017 in Mercer County—up from 59 in 2016. Robbinsville and other nearby municipalities are not immune, which is why nearly every town in Mercer County has adopted some form of C.A.R.E. since the Robbinsville Township Police Department made the initiative standard operating procedure in January 2016. For more on how C.A.R.E. is implemented, visit robbinsville.net.

Networking hour at the Stone Terrace begins at 6:30 p.m. with a sit down dinner at approximately 7:30 p.m. I will deliver the State of Robbinsville Township Address, a speech highlighted by a third consecutive municipal tax cut, at approximately 8:30 p.m. The cost is $110 per person, or $1,000 for a table of 10. Seating is limited.

I need to personally thank Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri and New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal for approving the reallocation of $25,000 in forfeiture money to get this year’s campaign off to an unprecedented start. The sponsorship levels are $25,000 (C.A.R.E. Guardian), $10,000 (C.A.R.E. Warrior), $5,000 (C.A.R.E. Hero) and $2,500 (C.A.R.E. Advocate). Beverage/cigar sponsorships opportunities also are available for $500. Keep it Local sponsorships are $250. Anyone who cannot attend, but would like to donate $25 anonymously, or in the name of someone struggling with addition, can do so prior to the event (details to follow).

Contact Jodi Stephens at jstephens@robbinsville.net to become a sponsor and to reserve your seat with a check or money order.

Dave Fried is the Mayor of Robbinsville.