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Celeste Roemer wasn’t looking for gifts on her 50th birthday; she was looking to do something special.

As her milestone birthday in August inched closer, Roemer made a request to family and friends: donate to the Food Bank of South Jersey (FBSJ) in her name instead of giving her presents. With the help of FBSJ staff members, Roemer found out how easy it was to create her own online donation page and provide the link for friends and family to make contributions.

Roemer and twenty eight of her friends and relatives responded with a total contribution of $1,290 to FBSJ, exceeding her initial goal of $1000.

“I couldn’t see all of these folks bringing me gifts because I don’t need anything. So I thought of the Foodbank!”

A devoted wife and mother, Roemer first learned about FBSJ’s mission when she worked on numerous food drives with her daughter Sophia’s Girl Scout troop. The positive experiences led Roemer, a Voorhees native, to decide it was time to continue serving the people in need right in her backyard. “I felt guilty enough throwing myself a 50th birthday party,” said a warmhearted Roemer.

Through social media updates, postings, emails and phone calls, Roemer encouraged her companions to donate, and shared frequent updates on how much they were raising together.

“I feel that there are so many great organizations to donate to, but having a healthy meal is the first thing people need,” said Roemer. “If you don’t have that, it makes everything else more difficult.” As a first-time donor, Roemer demonstrates just how far a single act of generosity can go. The money raised through her donation page can purchase about 6,500 meals for South Jersey residents.

“Celeste’s story is so inspiring simply because of how selfless her decision was,” said FBSJ Chief Development Officer Tom Sims. “She thought of others on a day when most people think of themselves, and her efforts have demonstrated exceptional support for our cause. We are extremely grateful.”

One year older and with a heart filled with gratitude, Roemer plans to continue finding unique ways to give back to her community.


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