ORANGE, NJ — Taking advantage of the turnout for its annual Tackle Breast Cancer Football Sunday fundraiser at Southern Comfort Cafe on Sunday, Dec. 16, AAngelsNJ, a nonprofit cancer awareness and support organization also hosted a Toy Drive to coincide with the event.
“This is actually our end-of-the-year fundraiser, which is why we combined it with the Tackling Breast Cancer and Toy Drive,” said Angelina Sims, the group’s founder and a member of the Orange High School Class of 1985, on Sunday, Dec. 16. “So all of the toys we collect today are going to Newark Beth Israel’s Children’s Hospital for the holidays. The funds we collect today go to support families, women and their families, who have been affected by breast cancer.”
Sims’ annual fundraiser and toy drive is geared toward helping families in need, and many members of her own family are involved with the AAngelsNJ organization and came out to lend a helping hand to make the event a success.
“I didn’t have a choice,” joked Sims’ cousin, Tonka Barrett, on Sunday, Dec. 16. “We just help to serve underserved and underinsured women that have breast cancer and try to navigate them through the treatment process with our cancer survivors.”
Deputy Chief Gerard Long of the Orange Fire Department is another of Sims’ cousins who came out to support her Sunday, Dec. 16. Although he wasn’t serving food as Barrett was, he was supporting the cause and is recognized as one of the few male angels involved with the organization.
“It’s always a positive event raising money for cancer awareness,” said Long on Sunday, Dec. 16. “As we talked about before, the cancer problem also affects the people in the fire service, too. We have the same battle. So the awareness level, the education level of what she’s doing, is awesome. I’m thankful that she’s doing it. I want to support her. I suggest everybody else support her. Cancer awareness is something that’s big. I’m just happy that she’s doing what she’s doing.”
“I’m supporting and I’m a member,” said Jessie Wilcher, one of Sims’ newest angels, on Sunday, Dec. 16. “I just joined and I’m excited about the venture and everything that AAngelsNJ is doing in New Jersey to support the education to our community.”
Jason Cox, an Orange resident recognized in hip-hop music circles for his affiliation with Naughty By Nature, said he attended the event so he could talk trash to all of the Dallas Cowboys fans.
“I’m out here for a beautiful cause, for AAngelsNJ. Angelina and her crew are so dedicated to tackling cancer,” said Cox on Sunday, Dec. 16. “What more can I say? This is a strong woman and I’m here. It takes a team, a village and she’s got a strong supporting cast and I want to be part of it. I just want to be there for my sister, man, and fight this cause. Word up.”
“We’re all here for one cause, man,” said Cox, “to be a blessing to each other and just uplift our people and just make everybody comfortable and better. Whatever it is that we can do to help each other, you know. That’s what it is.”
Lori Wood-Montague of Wood Legacy Productions is one of Sims angels, and she couldn’t have agreed more with Cox. She was busy on Sunday, Dec. 16, having already attended the East Orange event organized by 3rd Ward Councilman Berg Leneus, 3rd Ward Councilwoman Quill Talmadge and New Jersey Kids Fashion week that same day.
“I’m coming from supporting as many people in the community as possible,” said Wood-Montague on Sunday, Dec. 16. “I just came from Councilman Leneus’ event at his toy drive and now I’m proud to be here at AAngelsNJ and our toy drive and it’s all about supporting the community and doing what we can to give back. So it’s a beautiful thing.”
Wood-Montague said, “All of the members here at AAngelsNJ, we’re all bound together through breast cancer, in some way, shape or form.” And that’s why the organization has attracted so many supporters, she said.
“I became a member in memory of my mother, Diane Wood, who passed away five years ago. Angelina was just so generous and supportive during my family’s time of grief and grieving her loss. She dedicated a scholarship in my mother’s memory and, from that experience, I knew that I really needed to give back and really find purpose in supporting others who are going through their challenges with breast cancer,” said Wood-Montague. “AAngelsNJ is an amazing organization. We do so much. We’re hands-on. We raise funds that go directly to individuals who are battling cancer and their families. We help pay for their treatments. We do whatever we can, give whatever support we can to help fill in the gaps. From a personal perspective, it is just something that is so beneficial to the community. If you haven’t attended one of our events, I suggest you do so and just come out and check out what we do.”
“Every event, we show a different shirt for each different activity. Having good apparel for members and supporters alike helps the cause. If anyone wants to order a custom AAngels jersey with your name of the back, your football team on the sleeve, whatever number you want, just reach out to aangels.org or email@example.com,” Sims said.
“If you need help, any kind of support, we have a Facebook page, facebook.com/aangelsnj; on Instagram we’re @aangelsNJ. You can send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we have a phone number, 888-589-8035, and someone will get back to you. It’s a promise that we make.”