Who We Are
The Candle Lighters is a group of concerned parents, relatives and friends who want to assist in the growth and well-being of the developmentally disabled in our community.

Over the past decade, fee-for-service programs provided by The Arc of Essex County, like The Stepping Stones Early Intervention Program, have periodically been in financial jeopardy.  Thanks to the generous support of the Candle Lighters, the cost charged to families for services continues to be significantly reduced. 

We invite you to become one of the many “Candles” that light the way.  Only through our efforts can we assure a brighter future for all children and adults who have developmental disabilities.


The Candle Lighters was established in 1974.  The role of The Candle Lighters is to raise funds for programs sponsored by The Arc of Essex County that benefit children and adults with developmental disabilities in Essex and surrounding counties.  All the money raised is given to The Arc (Association for Retarded Citizens of Essex County, Inc.).  The money is then distributed to the non-funded programs serving the developmentally disabled.  These programs could not operate without privately raised funds. 

A significant amount of the money raised each year is at our Tricky Tray event (items donated are displayed and tickets are purchased for a chance to win a specific prize).  Our largest fund raiser continues to be the Candle Lighter Ad Journal, where businesses are solicited along with families and friends who take out ads which are then published in an attractive journal and distributed to all who contributed.  We also participate in two off-premise raffles per year.  On the average, we raise $80,000 - $100,000 each year and the money is distributed to the following programs:

-Stepping Stones Early Intervention Program
-Camp Hope – a summer day camp
-Recreation – for children and adults with developmental disabilities

How Can I Make A Contribution:  These programs can not operate without donations – we appreciate your help and support to help continue these invaluable program. 

To become a Candle Lighter or for more information please contact Judy Bellina at 973-535-1181 ext. 1223.