Barbara Littman and Sherri Moskowitz know that an eye-catching handbag can be more than a fashion statement. It can also make a statement of concern for seriously ill children and their families.
Littman and Moskowitz are cochairing the second annual Handbags for Hope auction on Tuesday, Aug. 7, to benefit the Ronald McDonald houses of New Brunswick and Long Branch.
Littman, from Highland Park, is a longtime supporter of the charity, which provides a “home away from home” for families coping with a hospitalized child. She first became acquainted with their work as an interior designer in 1979 when she was asked to design a room in the Ronald McDonald House Designer Showcase in Manhattan.
Reconnecting with the organization in 2007, Littman, by then an architect, was asked to design the public spaces of the new facility in New Brunswick. She received the ASID Gold Award for Public Spaces for the work. Littman now sits on the Ronald McDonald House board.
Among her many other charitable endeavors, Littman is a Lion of Judah for her contributions to the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County and is active in federation causes. She is also on the board of Alyn Hospital in Jerusalem.
Littman brought the idea of the handbag fund-raiser to the house board after attending a similar event for another organization. “People donate new or gently used handbags and we have a silent auction,” explained Littman. “The handbags are priced so everyone can afford to participate. They start at $25 and go up to a couple thousand dollars to fit everyone’s pocketbook and everyone can feel good about making a donation.”
She chaired last year’s event, which brought in over $75,000. More than 330 handbags have so far been donated for this year’s auction.
Moskowitz, who lives in East Brunswick and grew up at Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick, has been a supporter of federation. She said she became involved with the McDonald’s houses after visiting the facility.
“I saw what they do for people and wanted to become involved,” she said. “I came on the committee and began volunteering. It’s just such a great charity to put my energy into.”
(The Handbags for Hope Twilight Cocktail Reception and Handbag Auction will be held 4-7 p.m. at the Palace at Somerset Park in Somerset. Handbag designers Bridget and Megan Torregosta of Middletown will be guests. A Prada handbag valued at $2,900 will be raffled. Tickets cost $20 each or a book of six for $100. Event tickets, $85, or two for $150, junior tickets, age 30 and under, $65. For information, contact Nanette Leonard, 732-222-8755, ext. 31, Nanette@rmh-cnj.org.)