25th Anniversary Breakfast Fundraiser a SUCCESS

Zoraida Gonzalez-Torres Delivering Key note Address

June 21, 2010

Thursday, May 20th was a beautiful day for CCOP as we celebrated 25 years of our faith based organizing in Camden, New Jersey.  It was our first time utilizing Camden's  Diamond Café with a large and lovely view of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and Campbell's Rivershark Stadium.  In an elegant setting of ivory, purple and silver, our guests enjoyed a delicious breakfast buffet and the warm camaraderie of people all desiring the best for our city. (photos here)

We were excited to have a diversity of distinguished featured speakers, including Mayor Dana Redd, Police Chief Scott Thomson and Rutgers Chancellor Wendell Pritchett.  Mayor Redd's PowerPoint presentation showing Camden's ongoing revitalization and stressed that many of these initiatives were made possible as a result of CCOP's work to get more funding State into Camden. Police Chief Thomson acknowledged CCOP for linking its community arm with the Camden Police to help make Camden a safer place to work and live.   Chancellor Pritchitt emphasized the importance of civic engagement and Rutgers University's role in the community good. 

The personal testimony of our Keynote Speaker, Zoraida Gonzalez-Torres, struck the hearts of those present.  Zoraida spoke of her journey with CCOP from the very beginning -- from brand new fledging leader, learning she had a voice to trained and vocal powerhouse -- speaking out on issues that concerned her family and her community.  The impact that Zoraida has had as a developed and committed leader was evident in the outpouring of love to Zoraida and her family when she found her health dramatically affected by health issues this past fall.  The doctors marveled as Zoraida is statistically only 1 in 15,000 people to survive as she did.  As a testament to Zoraida's strength and vision she concluded her comments with a statement of CCOP's mission in Camden, "CCOP will exist as long as there are abandoned houses that attract drugs and disinvestment; CCOP will exist as long as our schools have more drop outs then graduates; CCOP will exist as long as there are people using Emergency rooms for basic medical care; CCOP will exist as long as there are neighborhoods where children are afraid to play outside; CCOP will exist as long as Camden residents don't feel like they have a voice in the decisions that are affect their lives."

 We were also thrilled to have businesses join us, some for the first time, as well as faithful individual contributors that have supported us loyally over the years.  As always, the work of our inviting committee, veterans and first-timers, and newly-formed finance committee, helped us in this year's planning and our plans to reach out monthly to our faithful supporters and friends. In the coming weeks we will produce a CCOP Contributor Book and Brochure that will highlight all our generous contributors as well as give a brief overview of CCOP's work.  This brochure will be used for the next year's worth of organizing events.

 Lastly, we want to show our thanks to all of you who have helped make our Breakfast and our organizing a success, by inviting you to attend our informal relationship building summer Barbeque in August.  It is a 25th Anniversary Celebration & Revival that will bring the entire CCOP family together to both look back on the past years as well as dream together about the future.  All are invited.