Our son, brother, uncle and friend Matt Toriello worked through his life to help others — especially anyone who was young or struggling. His unique gift was an ability to make all feel welcome and valued, young or old, healthy or sick, popular or not. As has become even more apparent since the morning of August 11, 2019, Matt befriended and helped a broad range of people. We have heard from the players on a number of the youth basketball teams he coached; his middle school, high school and college classmates; teachers and administrators who taught and guided Matt; people with whom he worked over the years; the youth he guided in his years as Youth Minister at St. Helen’s; those he traveled with on his recovery road; of course his friends and extended family; and many many others. In our family, he took a very special interest in his nieces and nephews. They were the sun and moon to him.
We want to continue Matt’s good deeds and continue to give his gifts to others. Your donations to his memorial fund enable us to do this in a more meaningful way. We extend our deepest thanks to each of you for your very important support. We take our responsibility to use this support to help others very seriously. In Matt’s life, addiction education and prevention, recovery, and helping youth became the focus of his efforts. Those will be the focus of our efforts as well.
This fund is intended to be a continuing memorial to Matthew and we will donate in his name from the fund to charities that fit this mission. To get things started, we plan to use 10% of the fund’s balance each year for the next three years. We will reassess our approach at the end of three years.
We are so thankful that we continue to feel his presence everyday, and that is largely because of what we’ve been able to do to honor him in these past 10 months. Thanks to your generosity, we have:
- Donated to Surfside Addiction Recovery to help launch a graduate accountability and family transition program, maintaining regular contact in those crucial days, weeks, and months following graduation from their facility.
- Donated to the Seabrook House of NJ to help support their drug and alcohol rehabilitation program.
- Donated to Prevention Links, a key partner in the launch of Operation Helping Hand 365/24/7, which provides that police officers in Union County will offer rehabilitation assistance through Prevention Links at the time of any opioid possession arrest.
- Teamed with the WHS Dream Team and Westfield Municipal Alliance by sponsoring their 2019 Anti-Drug and Alcohol Poster Palooza.
- Established and awarded a scholarship for one of the seniors of the WHS Dream Team in Matthew’s name. This year’s recipient has ambitions of becoming a Children’s Advocacy Lawyer to make a difference in the lives of children who need representation.
- Donated to the St. Helen’s Youth Ministry program,where Matt devoted so much of his time, to provide funds to host a speaker for middle schoolers.
- Donated to the Westfield Coalition of the Arts to help support their programs for Westfield students. Matthew was very involved in the Arts programs all throughout high school.
- Donated to Imagine, A Center for Coping with Loss to support grieving children and families who have lost a loved one.
- Donated to Holy Trinity’s Food Bank to support their community outreach during the Covid-19 pandemic.
We are forever grateful for your support in celebrating Matt and continuing his good works.
Marilyn and John Toriello
Kristen and Blake Sonnek-Schmelz
John and Morgan Toriello
Suzanne and James Arbes