Sept. 21, 2020-- The United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties (UWMOC) is supporting Cedar Grove Elementary School with a $5,000 grant as part of its Covid-19 Recovery Program. The funding will support additional instruction for students as the district has opened the school year with an enhanced virtual learning plan.

UWMOC announced its winning grantees during a check presentation event Aug. 25. Each organization also received a box of 500 disposable cloth face coverings and a bottle of hand sanitizer.

“United Way’s strength lies in our ability to convene resources and bridge gaps for our partner organizations and the individuals they serve who will desperately need this help,” said President & CEO of United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties Lori-Anne McLane. “So many people have been economically impacted by this crisis, but it’s hitting our low- to middle-income residents the hardest. We are working to ensure that our community has the support it needs as we move through this crisis together, and these grants are the first step in that process. After the disaster ends, United Way is there for the long road ahead.”

The Cedar Grove Extended-Day Program will enable underserved students who are struggling within the all-virtual model to receive additional instruction. Nearly a quarter of Cedar Grove’s population is eligible for free and reduced lunch, a number which barely disqualifies the school for targeted Title 1 services but which is significant nonetheless considering CGE is the district’s largest elementary school. Statistics reveal that economically disadvantaged students have more difficulty with an all-remote model of instruction than students with more resources, and this grant seeks to bridge that gap.

“The impact of the pandemic has been unfair to all school-aged children, but none more than our vulnerable population of students,” said Cedar Grove Principal Stacey Monetti. “This grant will allow us to begin to address these inequities by providing targeted academic support to our neediest children.”

Through donations from local partners, UWMOC offered the first wave of its Covid-19 Recovery Program to organizations needing assistance to reopen and individuals in need, and distributed some $45k to area nonprofits and residents. The follow-up wave of funding, for which Cedar Grove became a recipient, includes $25,000 in support geared toward instruction and the successful implementation of programs in the midst of the pandemic.

“The United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties has proven to be an effective and important partner,” said Superintendent David Healy. “From their Youth Career Pathways grant at High School South to this most recent support of Cedar Grove, it’s clear that the organization values our students and the future of this community.”

The Cedar Grove Extended-Day Program began Sept. 1 with staff training, and the instructional period will run Oct. 6 through Nov. 30.

Stacey and Tom

Cedar Grove Elementary Principal Stacey Monetti (right) and Supervisor Thomas Lanza stand near the sign at the school’s entrance announcing CGE has a winner of the Covid-19 Recovery grant from the United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

UWMOC check

Pictured in the photo from left to right: Tom Hayes, New Jersey Natural Gas Director of Customer and Community Relations; Bob Rosone, UWMOC Chairman; Mike Kenny, Toms River Regional Schools Coordinator of the Office of Grants and Communication; Heather Barberi, Grunin Foundation Executive Director; Brian Massey, UWMOC Volunteer; Lori McLane, UWMOC President & CEO