OneMontville makes community unity a priority by kicking off 2017 with a day of service
Close to 150 walk for #AcceptanceKindnessRespect
OneMontville and the
Montville Township High School Culture Club came together to organize the first
annual Martin Luther King Day of Respect and Community Service on January 16,
2017. The purpose was to walk for #AcceptanceKindnessRespect, introduce
the walkers to many of the cultures that make Montville great, and to provide
an opportunity for people to volunteer for service projects throughout the
The First Annual Martin Luther King Day of
Respect and Community Service far exceeded the expectations of the coordinators
of the OneMontville event. Nearly 150 men, women and children gathered
at the Montville Township Municipal Building in the bright sunshine of the
forty-one degree day.
“We planned for 60, hoped for 20
and were thrilled to welcome close to 150,” said Montville Township Public
Schools Superintendent Dr. René Rovtar. Rovtar is the founder of OneMontville,
a non-profit community organization that launched in fall 2015. The mission of
OneMontville is to create and promote a climate of
acceptance, inclusion and kindness which teaches and celebrates respect for one
another by embracing and being enriched by the diversity that comprises the
Montville Township Community.
mission of OneMontville can only be fully accomplished through the involvement
and commitment of community leaders, religious leaders, business leaders, and
residents of all ages, races, religions, ethnicities, abilities, gender
identity or sexual orientation” said co-coordinator of the event and
OneMontville Board member Shari Schwartz.
Wearing Montville Township green
for unity, the day’s volunteers walked together a half of a mile; from Town
Hall to the Pine Brook Jewish Center. They carried with them men’s white tube
socks and hand and foot warmers to donate to Homeless Bus, Inc., a Towaco-based
non-profit that has fed over 300 homeless people every Saturday in New York
City since 1992. The walkers also donated over 30 bags of non-perishable food
for the Montville Kiwanis Food Pantry.
Once they arrived at PBJC, the
walkers had an opportunity to learn about Judaism, and the PBJC’s many local
and global volunteer initiatives. They also volunteered for Homeless Bus by
making “Happy Cards” – inspirational notes for the homeless.
From there the volunteers traveled
to St. Pius X Church, the Montville Reformed Church and Jam-e-Masjid Islamic
Center in Boonton. At each stop they participated in community outreach
programs and learned about many area religions and organizations; including the
Montville ecumenical group EAC (Everyone in Action for the Community). In
addition, Montville United Methodist Church and Evangelical Lutheran Church of
the Holy Spirit joined Montville Reformed Church with a display honoring the
man for which King was named: Martin Luther. The historical display also highlighted
the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.
“This is a community effort to
celebrate our diversity and our unity,” said event co-coordinator and
OneMontville board member Dr. Cathy Lundquist. “OneMontville is about Kindness
and Respect for the entire Montville Township community.”
Kosher and halāl food
was donated by Pine Brook Jewish Center and Jam-e-Masjid Islamic Center. A hot
lunch was served by volunteers at the Reformed Church and was provided by five
Montville Township Restaurants: Columbia Inn, Harrigan’s, Montville Diner, Poor
Henry’s and Red Barn. St Pius also provided water and cookies. Shuttle services
were donated by Gordon Jones of Montville.
“This is a wonderful and very
successful event,” said OneMontville Board President Ron Rauschart. “The first
of what I believe will be many years of unifying events on Martin Luther King
Day for OneMontville and the Montville Township community.”
The enthusiastic response to the MLK Day of
Respect and Community Service has helped to provide excitement for the many
other unifying events that are planned throughout 2017 by OneMontville, The
Montville Township High School Culture Club and the character education
programs in Montville Township Public Schools’ seven schools.
Currently all seven schools are observing
National Random Acts of Kindness Week throughout the month of February. The
Second Annual OneMontville Green In Day, where all students, businesses, and
families are asked to wear green to encourage #AcceptanceKindnessRespect, is
planned for Friday May 17, 2017.