A new year, a new decade, a new start for all the things we want to improve about ourselves and our community. So, what better way to usher in 2020 than by giving back, showing our kids how good it feels and how much it matters? Whether you’re dunking yourself in the Atlantic for two shore charities at the Sons of Ireland Polar Bear Plunge in Asbury Park, cheering at a benefit basketball game with the Harlem Wizards to support education in Hammonton, or getting in a delicious date night that helps the homeless at New Year, New Flavour in Red Bank, you have a perfect chance to begin 2020 by paying it forward.
Featured image via Sons of Ireland
Annual Sons of Ireland Polar Bear Plunge
January 1st, 10AM
Start 2020 with a splash with this annual (and arctic!) Asbury Park tradition. The day begins with a bagpipe march to the beach before you and your fam plunge into the icy ocean water with hundreds of others for a great cause. This year, the event benefits two amazing local charities: Mary’s Place by the Sea, a respite home for women going through cancer treatment, and You Cannot Be Replaced, a grassroots organization that raises awareness about suicide. Afterwards, rock out at a party on the beach featuring live music from The Haven.
Convention Hall; 1300 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ 07712
Cost: $25 to plunge, free to watch
January 1st, 10AM-6PM
Whether you indulge in adult beverages on NYE or not, you can still check out the 12th Annual Hangover Ride in Hillsborough that raises money for Community Hope of New Jersey’s Hope for Veterans program. The ride is adults only, but the kids will love to see all the bikes rev their engines for a great cause. And, the after-party at the lodge is family-friendly with a hot buffet and live music.
Manville-Hillsborough Elks BPOE 2119; 1500 Brooks Blvd. Hillsborough, NJ 08844
Cost: $15 for after party, free to watch
January 4th to February 4th
Organizers of this annual fundraiser for the Special Olympics of New Jersey are trying something a little different this year—taking it virtual! That means you and your littles can complete this 5K anywhere in New Jersey, any time during the Special Olympics Winter Season (between January 4th and February 4th). Support the amazing 600 athletes here in our state as they compete in floor hockey, volleyball, alpine skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, speed skating, and figure skating. Whether you take the kids and hit your favorite trail, log your miles on a treadmill or even go out for a family jog around the neighborhood—you’ll be doing it for a great cause.
Cost: $20 for registration
Harlem Wizards Basketball Show
January 5th, 4-7PM
Your kiddos will be wowed watching these ballers take on a group of Waterford teachers in a benefit basketball game night. Cheer on the underdogs aka local teachers for a night of family fun that supports the Waterford Home & School Association, which raises money for programs in the district’s public schools. It’s sure to be a blast filled with slick dribbling, slam dunks and all kinds of cool tricks.
Hammonton Middle School; 75 North Liberty Street, Hammonton, NJ 08037
Cost: $18 per ticket
Capitol Steps Fundraiser
January 10th, 8-10PM
Older kids (think teens) will love the laughs and you’ll love the learning at this political satire comedy troupe show that features “The Lyin’ Kings” this season. The performance at Mayo Performing Arts Center will be a night of fun and fundraising sure to spark some lively talks and teaching moments. Bonus: A portion of the ticket proceeds benefits the Morris County teachers’ development and scholarship programs through the Morris County Council of Education Associations.
Mayo Performing Arts Center; 100 South Street, Morristown, NJ 07960
Cost: $45 for orchestra seats
We the People’s Annual MLK Day of Service
January 20th, 12:30PM-3:30PM
Teach your tweens that giving back starts with them: On the day dedicated to honoring Dr. Martin Luther King and NJ’s largest day of service, kids can work together on projects that help those not as fortunate and better our communities. They’ll spend the afternoon creating ‘go bags’ for children escaping domestic violence, working on a collaborative art project that will be donated to public buildings, tying no-sew blankets for senior citizens, packing hygiene kits to help the homeless and creating thank you bags for active servicemen and women, as well as making new friends and having fun. Can’t make it to Bergen County? Find other ways for all-aged kids to volunteer on MLK day here.
Bergen Community College; 400 Paramus Road Paramus, NJ 07652
Brunch for Ronald McDonald House
January 25th, 11AM-2PM
Pay it for forward at this lively brunch that benefits families who need crucial assistance from the Ronald McDonald House while their children are sick. Enjoy breakfast treats, music, games and activities all while raising money for the Ronald McDonald House of Central & Northern New Jersey. Smash Kids Cancer, a pediatric cancer fundraising group, is hosting this family-friendly event.
Wesley United Methodist Church; 1500 Plainfield Ave. South Plainfield, NJ 07080
New Year, New Flavour 2020
January 27th, 6-9PM
If one of your resolutions is to have more date nights, this fundraiser is for you—head to The Molly Pitcher Inn for a delicious night out that scores the date night out and also gives back (win-win!). You’ll love sampling the favorite dishes from some of Red Bank’s eclectic restaurants, all while supporting HABcore (Housing the Homeless) and the Red Bank Business Alliance. Vote on your favorite tastes while you enjoy live music, artisan breweries, prizes from area businesses and more.
The Molly Pitcher Inn; 88 Riverside Avenue Red Bank, NJ 07701
Cost: $50 pre-sale, $60 day-of at the door