Sophomore Alex Carro and his family have been honored with the Mary E. Van Kirk Spirit of Volunteerism Award in recognition of almost eight years of dedication to brightening the lives of shelter and transitional housing guests.
The Long Valley, N.J., family — Alex; his brother, Tyler; and parents, Gina and Sergio — was honored by Homeless Solutions Inc. at its 16th annual Dream Builders’ Bash March 4 in Morristown, N.J.
Homeless Solutions is a private, non-profit organization that has been helping the homeless and working poor in the Morris County area since 1983. The HSI staff and programs give people the tools they need to rebuild their lives and, as working people move to independence, Homeless Solutions provides sustainable homes people can afford.
The Carro boys learned about the shelter and homeless children in a unique way. One day, Alex and Tyler were fighting over a gaming system when their mom decided it was time they learned just how fortunate they were. She took them on a tour of Morris Shelter.
That tour, taken nearly a decade ago, touched Alex and opened his eyes to things he never imagined. One thing, in particular, wouldn’t stop nagging at him: “If parents don’t have money for rent, how can they buy Halloween costumes for their children?”
That thought started what has now become a costume drive and Halloween party for Morris Shelter clients and Transitional Housing children. With the Carros enlisting support from school, church, friends and work colleagues, the costume drive has become legendary.
Spending countless hours collecting, sorting, mending costumes, the family first does a shopping night where the children get to “shop” for their own costumes and then, the following week, they come back for a party.
“That the entire family has been so committed all these years is admirable,” said Dan McGuire, interim CEO of Homeless Solutions. “What great role models Gina and Sergio are to their boys and what great role models the boys have been to our children.”
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