For Thomas J. and Dr. Judithann C. Keefe, charitable giving is a vital virtue, instilled in childhood by their Catholic upbringing.
“It was drilled in our heads. You were expected to give a dime a month for missions,” Tom added, as he reminisced about returning empty soda bottles for money to donate.
Both carried that compassionate commitment into their careers, where Tom remembers a Chamber of Commerce initiative in which chamber members took children in need shopping for Christmas gifts.
“Back then, you were supposed to spend $10. My first time out, I had $100 in my pocket – and I came home broke,” he laughed.
Catholic Charities has the formula
They have been longtime supporters of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton. Supporters since 1998, they have served on the Guardian Angel Dinner Dance Planning Committee for years, chairing it in 2017.
They like that Catholic Charities works to address all of a person’s needs, in an effort to establish long-term stability and recovery.
“Throwing money at a problem is not the answer. Catholic Charities produces tangible results – it’s measurable,” said Tom, pictured at right with Judi and Trenton Bishop David M. O’Connell. “Catholic Charities can give people a warm bed, a body to talk to, someone to understand their problem, financial help – everyone has the need for someone that cares for them. Catholic Charities seems to have the formula.”
While people in need exist worldwide, they like that their support improves their own community.
“Catholic Charities helps people in our Diocese,” Tom said. “They say ‘charity begins at home,’ and this is charity at home, in your own backyard. Monmouth County has a lot of very affluent neighborhoods, but it also has a lot of people in need. A lot of people don’t know that.”
Judi agreed: “When you become involved with Catholic Charities, it’s familial – you become part of a family. It’s very warm. You’re working toward a goal for other people.”
The couple’s commitment to their community is evident in their careers, as well as their spiritual life.
Devoted community supporters
Judi retired as assistant superintendent of Moorestown Township Public Schools after 32 years in New Jersey public education. She also was an adjunct professor at Monmouth and Fairleigh Dickinson universities. Tom had a long corporate career, including Johnson & Johnson, Jockey International and Ideal Office Systems.
They are members of the St. Catharine-St. Margaret parish in Spring Lake, where they served on the parish Faith to Move Mountains committee and Judi is a lector and Eucharistic minister and chaired the St. Catharine School Advisory Board. Tom is a sacristan for St.Catharine-St. Margaret Parish and St.Rose in Belmar.
Together since eighth grade, Tom and Judi have been married for 55 years. (The secret to their long union, Tom jokes, is two words – ‘yes, dear.’) They have two children and four grandchildren.
They were “humbled” to receive the Humanitarian Award.
“Catholic Charities is an organization that helps so many people in so many ways that whatever little we can do to help just makes us feel special,” Tom said.
Judi agreed: “The reward for us is that other people are being helped.”
Thomas J. and Dr. Judithann C. Keefe will be honored at Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton’s Guardian Angel Benefit of Hope on Wednesday, September 30th. Comedian and actor Joe Piscopo will host this virtual fundraiser and celebration of our supporters. It’s free to tune in! Register today here.
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For more information about or to support the Guardian Angel Benefit of Hope, contact Events Coordinator Barbara Yuson at [email protected] or Dana DiFilippo, Catholic Charities communications, at [email protected] or (215) 756-6277 (cell).
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