WYCKOFF, N.J. – While at a recent playdate with her daughter, Sarah Derico of Wyckoff got to talking to the grandparents of her child's friend.
The pair told her they came to the U.S. from Germany in the 1950’s with just a suitcase.
“They left everything behind to get out and away from what was going on. And it is hard to imagine that,” she said.
Derico is the vice president of Wyckoff-based Women For Progress, a non-profit with a mission to bring awareness to issues such as human rights, equality and women’s health through community, activism and education.
In an effort to support refugees going through similar struggles today, as well as people living in Syria, the group has organized a "Sweets for Syria" fundraiser.
The event will raise money for the Hands Up Foundation, which allocates funds to organizations in Syria, such as a school for children with disabilities. It will also raise funds for One World, One Love, a group that supports refugees as they resettle in New Jersey.
“The fact that we can say, ‘Welcome, and we are going to help you to get started. We are going to help you make New Jersey a home,’ that makes me feel great,” Derico said.
Sally Bruno -- the founder of One World, One Love -- will speak at the event.
Bruno said the event is the first large-scale fundraiser put together for her organization, and the money raised will allow the group to support more people.
“With all the darkness and the violence and everything that is happening overseas and here in our own country, it is just really beautiful to see how many people have that love and compassion in their hearts and want to do what they can to make a difference and make this world a better place,” Bruno said.
The event will feature desserts donated by It’s Greek To Me in Ridgewood, Sweet Love & Cake in Glen Rock, and Al Roche in Paterson, as well as coffee courtesy of Starbucks in Paramus.
There will also be a silent auction with items such as a hockey stick signed by the entire N.Y. Rangers team, tickets to the Stephen Colbert Show and tickets to the Rachael Ray Show.
The fundraiser will take place on Thursday, May 25, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Society of Ridgewood. For more information or to purchase tickets, CLICK HERE .
Women For Progress will also be holding a National Gun Violence Awareness Day vigil on Friday, June 2, at 7:45 p.m. at Wyckoff Town Hall.