By: J.L. Shively
The holiday season is a time of giving and the New Year one of reflection and moving forward. The staff at Jockey Hollow Bar and the Community Soup Kitchen in Morristown incorporated both of these ideals in their Caroling for a Cause event.
The best relationships are ones that last even after a person has passed on. That is the kind of impact Marla Drury had on the community which she worked so hard for all the years of her life.
Drury was the director of Development at the Community Soup Kitchen and Outreach Center for eight years and had volunteered her time for many years.
“Her commitment to the Soup Kitchen and our guests was inspirational to everyone who knew her,” says Terry Connolly, executive director at the Community Soup Kitchen.
The community and volunteering was very important to Drury and the same can be said of Jockey Hollow Bar owner Chris Cannon.
A chance meeting between Cannon and Drury during the early stages of the Jockey Hollow Bar’s opening led to a relationship that would continue to positively impact the community even after Drury’s death this past Sept.
Jockey Hollow Bar and Kitchen is housed in the iconic Vail Mansion which, according to the JHBK’s website, was the home of the first president of AT&T. Cannon began his work in transforming the mansion into his dream as a “culinary and cultural hub” in 2011 but he also wanted it to be something more.
Cannon approached the Soup Kitchen while his vision for Jockey Hollow Bar and Kitchen was still in its planning stages.
“He wanted a real and concrete connection to helping the less fortunate in the community and built those plans into his ideas for the restaurant from the very beginning,” says Connolly.
Working closing, Cannon and Drury were able to turn the opening of Jockey Hollow into a benefit for the Soup Kitchen where more than $50,000 was raised.
This close relationship with JHBK and the Community Soup Kitchen was brought forward yet again this holiday season, which is a time when soup kitchens and food pantries across the country most need the community’s support.
In the spirit of giving back, Cannon “had the idea to hold an event connecting the theater, local churches and JHBK and wanted to do the event to benefit the community, specifically to honor the memory of the Soup Kitchen’s Director of Development, Marla Drury,” explains Connolly.
The event came to be Caroling for a Cause, where guests could come to partake in holiday merriment while donating to their community.
The event took place on Dec. 24 which this past year was both Christmas Eve and the first night of Hanukka.
Starting at 3:30 p.m. at the Jockey Hollow Bar, more than 100 guests came out to enjoy caroling provided by the First Presbyterian Church of Morristown as well as “potato latkes and applesauce, hot chocolate and good friends,” Connolly states.
Donations were accepted at the event as well as through a Crowdrise site prior to the event, Connolly explains. So far this event has raised more than $25,000 for the Soup Kitchen.
“I am so thankful to Chris for all the ways he supports the Soup Kitchen and our guests,” says Connolly. “He exemplifies how a local business owner can make a positive impact in their community in a way that brings everyone together.” Two years ago they presented Cannon with their Community Leadership Award, he adds.
Drury was “dearly loved and admired by everyone at the Soup Kitchen,” says Connolly and the fact that Cannon chose this event to honor her work is “meaningful to all of us,” and certainly encompasses the true meaning of the season.