Fundraiser Benefits Local Children’s Bereavement Camp

SCOTCH PLAINS — The Scotch Plains S.A.L. American Legion Post 209 sponsored its annual raffle which raised $2,500 to benefit the Center For Hope Hospice Camp Starbright located at 175 Glenside Avenue in Scotch Plains.

The S.A.L. Post 209 was formed approximately 11 years ago and is presently under the direction of Commander Pete Breece.  Other Board members include Steve Church, Finance Officer; William Jackson, 2nd Vice Commander; Ron Watt, Adjutant; John Chupko, Chaplain; Brian Miller, Bill Kleemeyer, Paul Southwick, Jeffrey Kirby.  The organization raises funds throughout the year to donate to various special needs children’s programs within the community.


From Left to Right, William Jackson, Brian Miller, Jeffrey Kirby, John Chupko, Diane Coloney, Pete Breece, Steve Church, Ron Watt, Bill Kleemeyer (Photo courtesy of Center For Hope Hospice & Palliative Care)

The funds will be applied to Camp Starbright bereavement camp for children.  The camp is operated by the Center For Hope Hospice & Palliative Care. It has been in existence since 2002.  Children attend the camp for one week in July, followed by monthly support group activities for the children and their family members.  With the help of professional counseling, many young people will be able to overcome the anxiety that often follows tragedy in their lives.

Camp Starbright is a Bereavement Camp of fun and healing for children who grieve the loss of a loved one. “In a perfect world, we would be able to shelter children from the harsh reality of death.  Unfortunately we will always be faced with the challenge of helping our children cope with their pain and grief,” stated Diane Coloney, Administrator of Camp Starbright.  The camp offers a wide range of activities from arts and crafts, music, puppetry, sports and games, to quiet time for sharing and expressing individual losses.

The Bereavement & Grief Counseling Center operated by the Center for Hope offers a wide variety of bereavement services and support groups that are available to the community free of charge.

“We have learned to appreciate life and all it has to offer,” stated Pete Breece.  “I am sure I speak for all the members of Post 209 who believe our fund raising efforts are an opportunity to look at all the good in the world and try to give some of it back to “Make a Difference” in the lives of the children in our community.

Camp Starbright continues to be available free of charge to participants due to generous donations from organizations such as the Sons of American Legion.

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