N.J. Garden City Alumnae Remain Relevant Amid COVID-19


Submitted by Traci C. Benjamin

While COVID-19 showed up like a thief in the middle of the night and changed our lives, as Matthew 24:44 states “be ye also ready,” the members of New Jersey Garden City Alumnae Chapter showed they were by responding to the needs of the community.

With many families were grappling with working from home and teaching their children, NJGCAC provided bountiful baskets of food for eight large families just in time for Easter for students in the Winslow School District.

“This untimely crisis has pushed some families to the brink. Unemployment has skyrocketed. Parents are facing layoffs and the children are home all day. We wanted to alleviate some of the stress by providing a holiday dinner and additional food for the days ahead,” said Traci C. Benjamin, President of NJGCAC.

On May 7, the National Day of Prayer, the chapter chaplain planned a soul-stirring virtual program. More than 86 people from across the East Coast participated. The service included musical selections, a sermonette, along with prayers and scriptures for our children, our frontline and essential workers, our nation, and our finances.

“When your community and nation are hurting and you do not know what to do, you have to turn to your faith. While our hearts were heavy joining the Zoom meeting, we left with optimism knowing that God will see us through these trying times,” said LaVonyia Wilson- Mitchell, Chapter Chaplain.

As the state moved into its ninth week of sheltering at home, the chapter’s Physical and Mental Health Committee hosted COVID-19, Mind, Body and Soul. The program featured the chapters’ physicians and social workers as panelists. Attendees learned about the virus, testing, coping, and protecting their mental health.

“In these unprecedented times, people are looking for answers on how to balance work, life, family in what is our new norm. We wanted to be a resource to help,” said Zora Dees Brown, co-chair of the Physical and Mental Health Committee.

The work did not stop there. As a chapter with more than two dozen frontline and essential workers, they celebrated each of them on the cha[ter’s social media channels. While many can shelter-at-home, these hard-working women cannot phone it in. They are showing up.

While COVID-19 is a global crisis, it brought the harsh reality that we are in fact fighting two pandemics – a virus and racism. The chapter’s Social Action committee partnered with the Camden County East Youth Council and NJSC NAACP Youth Works Committee to host: Race and Trauma – Living Scared and Feeling Under Siege. The program came days after the tragic murder of George Floyd. The panelists included a chapter member who is a licensed counselor and Dr. George James, licensed therapist and “Today” show contributor.

“Thank you for hosting this watch party. It is good to hear a conversation that I wouldn’t normally be privy to in this way,” said Lynne Cona, an attendee from Voorhees, NJ.

NJGCAC will continue to be an ally to the community as we weather this storm together.


Submitted by Traci C. Benjamin While COVID-19 showed up like a thief in the middle of the night and changed our lives, as Matthew 24:44 states “be ye also ready,” the members of New Jersey Garden City Alumnae Chapter showed they were by responding to the needs of the community. With many families were grappling …

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