The Gellman Foundation was founded by Gloria Gellman in honor of her brother Howard who was active in community service. Howard had passed many years ago. Upon Gloria’s death, she left Frank Keller as a trustee to carry on the Foundation. Although the Foundation had not been very active until the year just before Gloria’s death, her intentions were to carry on in helping others as her brother once did.
After her death, Mr. Keller built a board of Trustees, including himself, Kathleen Dennis, Frank Pessolano, Anita Pescevich and Deborah Campesi - who all stepped up to share in their vision. Shortly thereafter, we expanded the name to “Howard’s Mission”… making it possible. Following the intent that the mission was to honor Howard Gellman and giving the public a friendly feeling with the name. Slowly we are establishing ourselves, as all trustees work other jobs and have other responsibilities daily. Thanks to Mr. Keller, we are established in the same building as his business.
The services are based on a philosophy of ‘providing simple comfort’ to those in need, as a group we decided it most important to keep the purpose of our organization simple – giving directly to those who need us most. Rather than looking to be a large, impersonal organization, we choose to manage a direct connection between those who give and those who need. Thus, we live by our mission – “From our hands to theirs”. Generally, we distribute new and used clothing, toiletries, food, and shoes to those in need. We have volunteers that make sandwiches and prepare “meals in a bag” – filling brown bags with a selection of healthy items. These also go out weekly. We are fortunate to have volunteers that come and sort items into distributions each week – both new and used items. Sometimes we have many used items and others it is scarce. However usually we get enough to distribute each week. So far our support has been word of mouth, however we are almost ready to look for more public support with the expansion of our space.
We have established a network in NYC with some ‘homeless’ people in which we can arrange stops to distribute to. These people, along with other volunteers meet weekly and we bring the items to distribute to those who gather. Why NYC? Gloria was established in the city – so it started there.
We have now established ourselves in NJ and have a distribution site at Trinity Lutheran Church in Dover. We are working on other sites in NJ as well. We feel that since we are all primarily NJ based, those that contribute would like to know their efforts are helping those in our own communities.
Very often, those that give are thrilled that we are directly giving items. This is not to say we do not give to shelters and some similar establishments that benefit from donations. But all are focused on the best possible use. Some of the things we receive would not be good for someone living on the streets. So we find a place for everything.
Being a simple organization, we feel we are fulfilling our goal, but we also have growth in mind. We will always keep sight of the personal touch in giving the donations right to the person who needs it. That’s who we want to be – providing simple comfort to the homeless, one personal at a time. We will build on that for the future.
We are constantly in need of donations, either by used items or monetary to fund the purchase of new items to give. A box is provided outside the establishment to drop items or if needed we can arrange local pickups. The Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization and all donations are tax deductible. Receipts are available.