By Amy Batista, Special Writer
EAST WINDSOR – The township kicked off its participation in the 14th annual Womanspace Communities of Light during its meeting on Nov. 10.
East Windsor recognized Domestic Violence Awareness Month last month.
“Tonight, we are going to kick off an important event that is one of the major annual events,” said Mayor Janice Mironov. “It provides further focus and further funds to support the good work of Womanspace, which had partnered with us in recognizing Domestic Violence Awareness Month and who we partner with frankly day in and day out, year in and year out, for almost 20 years.”
Community of Lights is slated for Monday, Dec. 7.
Mayor Mironov issued a proclamation to Womanspace Executive Director Patricia Hart to kick off East Windsor’s participation in Communities of Light. Womanspace Director of Outreach Susan Adams, Domestic Violence Victim Response Team Charter Member Rita Teubner and Chief of Police Harry Marshall joined them for the presentation. Mayor Mironov along with Deputy Mayor Marc Lippman and council members Alan Rosenberg, Perry Shapiro, Peter Yeager and John Zoller presented Ms. Hart with personal donations.
“One of the things that is very important to us in East Windsor is putting our money where our mouth is,” said the mayor, adding she presented a personal check, which would purchase 50 boxes of candles.
“The source of the money is that as mayor I am empowered to perform marriages and I do not charge, but I do ask that people kindly make a contribution to my Mayor’s Trust Funs,” said Mayor Mironov. “I then use those funds to support other activities and good causes that assist people within our community. And this is certainly a tremendous cause.”
She said that Womanspace is the primary organization in their area that provides hope, resources and support to prevent abuse, protect families, and change lives through empowerment and to offer a safety net of supportive services, according to its website.
“Essentially, what we do is we have these luminaries that are for sale and this would be throughout Mercer County region,” she said.
Residents can gather on Dec. 7 at 5 p.m. at the Municipal Building in support.
“We literally do light up the Municipal Building,” she said. “It’s quite a sight for anyone who has seen it. It’s a lot of fun. We hope that many of you will come out and join us.”
Mayor Mironov said there has been good community participation for the event in the past, including from elected officials and police officers.
“We really do value greatly the tremendous work that Womanspace does and this gives us an opportunity as elected officials and as a community to come together to do something worthwhile to raise some money, focus on this issue and really show our support for a group that has assisted so many people in our area,” said the mayor.
Ms. Hart said it is the group’s 14th annual Communities of Light celebration. “I always love being here,” she said.
During the winter solstice in December, Communities of Light candles line the streets of central New Jersey – a symbol of hope for women and children impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault in our community. Communities of Light raises awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault and the services available to help victims in Mercer County. The candles come from luminary kits.
Each year, more than 200 volunteers sell, distribute and display the luminary kits. Volunteers sell the luminary kits to their friends, neighbors and co-workers, according to its website.
At dusk on Monday, Dec. 7, hundreds of people, scores of organizations and community groups, and the municipalities within Mercer County will light thousand of their candles. One hundred percent of the proceeds from event, sponsorships, luminary kit sales and donations to Communities of Light benefit Womanspace programs that serve more than 10,000 adults and children each year, who are impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault, according to its website.
“It has been going on for a long time and it really is intended as a major awareness builder to kind of shine a light on domestic violence as the mayor said and also to provide hope, provide light, provide the awareness to the victims and survivors that their community supports them, ” said Ms. Hart.
“We are always grateful that here in East Windsor they are always the first to kind of step up and say we are launching it here,” she said. “Folks in this community for sure know if they need help there’s help right around the corner or on the other end of the phone.”
Each luminary kit costs $10 and includes supplies and safety instructions for assembling six luminary candles to cover 150 linear feet and can be purchased at the East Windsor Police/Municipal Court Building located at 80 One Mile Road.
By Amy Batista, Special Writer