From running lemonade stands to hosting their annual Easter Egg hunt, James Caldwell High school Sophomores Morgan Vitiello and Emily Fiore have dedicated countless hours to raising funds for children and families in need, and this year will be no different.
For their fifth annual Morgan and Emily Easter Egg Hunt, all proceeds will go to benefit the Courtright family of Caldwell, a family itself that has devoted much time to fundraising for Cystic Fibrosis (CF) after learning their two sons were diagnosed with this disease.
"The fundraising started because we wanted to help children. Seeing kids that are sick inspires me to want to raise a lot of money for them," said Vitiello. "I am happy when I see others smile, especially when I know that I took part in making them smile," she added.
Vitiello and Fiore first became inspired to help others after learning about Alex's Lemonade Stand, a fundraising endeavor designed to raise money for children with cancer.
After a few years selling lemonade to donate to this charity, Vitiello's and Fiore's determination and creativity grew, resulting in the creation of their annual Easter Egg Hunt fundraising event.
Together, the girls have raised over $5,500 for a variety of families and causes, including the Make a Wish Foundation, St. Jude's Children's Hospital, and the Childhood Leukemia Foundation.
Last year, the teenagers began focusing on helping others closer to home, donating to a local family dealing with a devastating illness.
"Even though i like raising money for charities, I think it's more rewarding to help local families," commented Fiore.
As for the Courtrights, they created Team Courtright and began participating in walks for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) after learning two years ago their infant son Mitchell was diagnosed with CF.
After testing their three other children, they learned while their two daughters escaped the disease, their other son Matthew was also afflicted.
The Courtrights too have stepped up their fundraising efforts, with this year establishing a skating fundraiser to be held this Sunday, March 18. The family's positive attitude and approach have led to the respect of the entire community and the help of Vitiello and Fiore.
The Morgan and Emily Annual Easter Egg Hunt is scheduled this year for Sunday March, 25 at Franciso Park, and starts at noon for children four and under and 12:15 p.m. for children ages five to eight.
The hunt costs $3 per child, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Courtright family. For more information, or to find out how you can help, please call 973-364-7759 or 973-226-1072.
To purchase tickets for the Team Courtright skating fundraiser to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, contact Jeanne or Gregory Courtright at 973-364-0102.