The 2017 State of Robbinsville Township Address May 9 at the Hilton Garden Inn on Route 130 South is fast approaching.

This is always a bittersweet time of the year for me. In 2015, we changed the format of the evening in order to “Pay it Forward” and dedicate a sizeable portion of the proceeds from admission and sponsorships to a deserving family, organization or individual in need. As much as it warms my heart to bring an entire community together to help others in need, it is a constant reminder of the daily struggles and adversity many face.

Two years ago, we were thrilled to work with our partners, including Legacy Treatment Services and Hamilton Honda, to supply a disabilities-accessible van for Trey Shepherd. Last year, we were delighted to renovate the historic Robbins House in order to give local nonprofit Quilts For Comfort a working space to produce the amazing works of art that bring comfort to so many either in treatment or in recovery from cancer.

On May 9, we are once again proud and excited to partner with the MidJersey Chamber of Commerce and Ability Tree to help Sharon School teacher Deb Dauer with her fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that causes muscles to weaken and eventually stop working.

Robbinsville, the MidJersey Chamber and Ability Tree are raising funds to help make Deb’s home more accessible so she can continue to “Live to Love” and “Love to Live.” Since 2015, we have generated over $45,000 and are hoping to push the needle even further for Debbie—a wonderful, strong and truly heroic person.

Networking hour at the Hilton Garden Inn will begin at 6:30 p.m. Dinner buffet begins at 7:15 p.m. I will deliver the State of Robbinsville Township Address at approximately 8:15 p.m. The cost is $105 per person, or $1,000 for a table of 10. Seating is limited.

I want to extend a big thank you to Amazon, Matrix, David Bradley Chocolatier, Roselli Griegel Lozier Lazzaro PC and Triangle Copy for being among the first to step up to the plate. The sponsorship levels with a fundraising goal of $25,000 are $5,000 (Hometown Hero), $2,500 (Diamond), $500 (Beverage & Cigar) and $250 (Keep it Local).

In addition, our Keep it Local Robbinsville program again will donate $500 to each of the 11 charities in the KILR network, which includes Thea’s Star of Hope, the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Robbinsville PAL, Ryan’s Quest, RWJ Foundation, the Hamilton YMCA, Ability Tree, Animal Friends for Education, Robbinsville Meals on Wheels and Recovery Advocates.

Contact Jodi Stephens at jstephens@robbinsville.net to become a sponsor and to reserve your seat with a check or money order payable to Ability Tree. Mail to: Jodi Stephens, 2298 Route 33, Robbinsville, NJ 08691.

To make a direct donation to Deb, visit abilitytree.org/payitforward.

Dave Fried is mayor of Robbinsville.