Valerie Fund to hold annual Thanksgiving Ball Gala

Tara Favors, Joe Sheridan and William Sumas

CEDAR GROVE, NJ — The Valerie Fund, a Maplewood-based nonprofit that supports children with cancer and blood disorders, will hold its 27th annual Thanksgiving Ball Gala on Friday, Nov. 16, at 6:30 p.m. at The Grove, 691 Pompton Ave. in Cedar Grove. Longtime supporters Joe Sheridan, William Sumas and Tara Favors will be honored. For more information, visit

Thousands of Valerie Fund patients battling cancer and blood disorders have benefited from the nonprofit’s decades-long relationship with Wakefern Food Corp., the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the United States. President and COO Joe Sheridan leads Wakefern Food Corp.’s community outreach and philanthropic efforts and their ShopRite Partners in Caring initiative supports hundreds of charities. Wakefern Food Corp. is also New Jersey’s largest employer.

Guests will honor William Sumas, chairman of Village Super Markets. The Springfield-based company was started by his father and uncle with one market in 1937 and has grown into a 30-store, $1.6 billion chain. Sumas’ dedication to the family business has also extended to the local community and under his guidance Village Super Markets’ donations of food, services and employee volunteer hours are unparalleled in the grocery industry.

Favors is being honored for her advocacy of the Valerie Fund’s longterm impact on the children it serves. Her relationship with the organization began in 2005 when she received the news that her son would be born with Hemoglobin SC, a disease similar yet distinct from sickle cell anemia. Thankfully her son Davis, now 13, continues to be a healthy child despite his blood disorder and Favors has done much over the years to educate others about the impact of sickle cell in the black community. She is a member of The Valerie Fund board and the Scholarship Committee, which she finds incredibly inspiring.

“I believe in The Valerie Fund’s mission and amazing work,” Favors said. “We have watched these kids not only survive but thrive — some go on to medical schools, graduate schools and an assortment of careers.”