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Medical Weight Loss Injections in Rockaway, NJ


Semaglutide Treatment-woman

Medical Weight Loss in Rockaway, NJ

Did you know that more than 40% of adults in the United States suffer from obesity? Unfortunately, there is no miracle cure for this condition. Perhaps worse is that more and more adults and children are gaining weight across the country, choosing the convenience of fast and nutrition-deficient foods over healthy eating, exercise, and positive life choices. From an aesthetic standpoint, being overweight is a struggle - clothes don't fit right, people make uncomfortable comments about how you look, and everyday activities are less appealing.

From a health and wellness standpoint, however, being obese is much worse. Your life is literally on the line. The people who love you and depend on you to be in their lives could lose you sooner than you expect. With time, you have a higher chance of suffering from significant, life-changing issues such as:

  • Heart Disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • ED
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Respiratory Issues
  • More

While obesity is a serious problem, a new medication on the market is giving hope to millions of men and women across the U.S. This game-changing treatment is called Semaglutide in Rockaway, NJ. This anti-obesity medication is unique because it treats obesity as a chronic metabolic disease, rather than a problem that can be solved through sheer willpower. The best part? Semaglutide and other medical weight-loss peptides are now available at Global Life Rejuvenation.

Service Areas

Medical Weight Loss from Global Life Rejuvenation

At Global Life Rejuvenation, we understand that losing weight is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Our medical weight loss clinic offers custom medical weight loss plans tailored to your body, rather than plans based solely on your age or weight. In fact, our team of doctors and practitioners provides personalized guidance to help you achieve real results and live a healthier life.

Because the truth is maintaining good health and fitness are crucial in the modern world. Research has shown that viruses and diseases are more likely to affect those who are overweight and unhealthy. At Global Life Rejuvenation, we take a comprehensive, custom approach to medical weight loss that includes peptide therapy and more. We then work with you to make positive lifestyle changes, so you can lose weight, get healthy, and boost your wellbeing permanently - not for a few weeks or months.

Medical Weight Loss

Our medical weight loss plans can include:

Nutrition Guidance

Nutrition Guidance

Peptide Therapy

Peptide Therapy

Hormone Therapy

Hormone Therapy

Biometric Monitoring

Biometric Monitoring

Weight Loss Medications

Weight Loss Medications

Custom Medical Weight Loss Plans

Custom Medical Weight Loss Plans

If you're ready to get back to loving your life with more energy, confidence, and positivity, medical weight loss with peptide therapy may be for you. But to truly understand the benefits of peptides like Semaglutide, it's important you grasp what peptide therapy is and how it benefits your body.

Treatment in Rockaway

Treatment in Rockaway, NJ

Many individuals turn to peptide therapy to enhance their overall wellbeing by boosting hormones. Different types of peptides can target different areas of health, such as collagen peptides that can help improve skin, hair, and gut health.

Other peptides, such as AOD 9604, CJC 1295, and Semaglutide in Rockaway, NJ, are incredibly beneficial for losing weight. Compared to vitamin supplements, peptide therapy works differently as peptides are already part of the proteins in our bodies, making them easier to absorb and benefit from. Conversely, our bodies can sometimes fail to absorb all the nutrients present in multivitamins, leading to their excretion through urine.

However, it's important to note that weight loss is a complex process that involves various factors like age, genetics, lifestyle, exercise, and diet. While peptides like Semaglutide can provide much-needed assistance in achieving your weight loss goals, they are most effective when combined with healthy dietary choices, regular exercise routines, and overall healthier lifestyle choices.

If you've already tried different weight loss plans and diets but haven't had any success, medical weight loss with peptide therapy may provide that extra boost you need to realize your goals.

What is Semaglutide Treatment in Rockaway, NJ?

If you're looking to lose weight and keep it off, diet and exercise are important, but it can be difficult to stick to a routine. For busy adults and parents, Semaglutide can be a helpful tool for weight loss. This injection, approved by the FDA for diabetes and obesity, works by stimulating GLP-1 receptors in the brain to aid in weight loss and improve long-term health.

You may be wondering to yourself, "That sounds great, but how does this type of peptide work?" Semaglutide acts like glucagon in your body, which signals to your brain that you're full and don't need to eat anymore. When you take Semaglutide, and you try to overeat, your body waves a proverbial red flag as if to say, "That's enough."

Semaglutide also slows down digestion, reducing unnecessary snacking throughout the day. By reducing glucose spikes after meals, it reduces inflammation, which is important for overall health. Additionally, Semaglutide helps your pancreas secrete insulin, regulates the glucose levels in your body, and even has anti-aging and longevity properties. If you're struggling to lose weight, peptide therapies for weight loss like Semaglutide can be an invaluable addition to your weight loss plan from Global Life Rejuvenation.

What is Treatment in Rockaway, NJ?

When combined with healthy lifestyle choices like diet and exercise, Semaglutide can help provide:

  • Long-Term Weight Loss
  • Control of Insulin
  • Reduction in Body Fat
  • Lower Blood Pressure
  • Lower Cholesterol
  • Reduced Inflammation
Semaglutide can help

Who Should Consider Semaglutide Therapy in Rockaway, NJ?

There are multiple medications available to combat obesity by suppressing appetite and promoting weight loss. However, Semaglutide stands out as an exceptional option.

A recent study of 2,000 obese adults examined the effects of Semaglutide when combined with a diet and exercise program. The results were compared to those who only made lifestyle changes without taking Semaglutide. After 68 weeks, it was found that half of the participants using Semaglutide lost 15% of their body weight, with nearly a third losing 20%. In contrast, those who only made lifestyle changes lost an average of 2.4% of their weight.

It's obvious, then, that Semaglutide is a safe and effective supplement for your weight loss journey with Global Life Rejuvenation. But who is the ideal patient who should be taking it?

If you have a body mass index (BMI) of 27kg/m2 or higher and at least one weight-related condition, such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol, or if your BMI is 30kg/m2 or higher, the FDA recommends Semaglutide for weight loss.

Semaglutide Therapy

Healthy Eating Tips While Taking Semaglutide

As medical weight loss experts, one thing our doctors and practitioners know at Global Life Rejuvenation is that true weight loss isn't dictated by medicines. It's achieved by sticking to a combo of exercise, healthy life choices, and healthy eating habits. From there, peptides like Semaglutide in Rockaway, NJ are great for taking your weight loss efforts to the next level of success.

One area where many patients fail in this process is with their diet. If you're considering Semaglutide treatment, keep these diet tips in mind.

Eat Whole Foods

Eat Whole Foods

To enhance your dietary habits, a practical approach is to concentrate on consuming whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. These food items are rich in nutrients and can provide a feeling of fullness and satisfaction while also promoting your overall wellbeing.

Be Mindful When You Eat

Be Mindful When You Eat

Eating mindfully involves being fully present and engaged during meals. This entails taking the time to enjoy the flavor of your food, being aware of your body's hunger and fullness signals, and avoiding distractions like electronics or television.

Keep Your Body Hydrated

Keep Your Body Hydrated

To maintain good health and support weight loss, it's crucial to drink plenty of water. It's recommended to drink at least 8-10 cups of water daily. You may also try adding low-calorie drinks like herbal tea or infused water to keep things interesting.


Use Meal Prepping to Your Advantage

Planning your meals in advance is an effective approach to maintaining a healthy diet. Set aside some time each week to plan your meals and snacks, keeping in mind to incorporate a balance of protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. This will prevent impulsive food choices and guarantee that you have nutritious options available when hunger strikes.

Other Peptide Therapies and Medicines for Medical Weight Loss in Rockaway, NJ

Unlike many medical weight loss clinics, which only offer cookie-cutter weight loss plans and one or two additional fat-busting solutions, Global Life Rejuvenation provides access to new, innovative supplements and medicines. If you're used to fad diets and "quick" weight loss plans, peptides like AOD 9604 and others may be new to you. To help build your foundation of healthy living knowledge, let's take a look at a few of the most popular weight-loss peptides and medicines available at Global Life Rejuvenation.

AOD 9604 for Weight Loss

AOD 9604 for Weight Loss

Often combined with Semaglutide regimens, AOD 9604 is known to promote fat breakdown, inhibit lipogenesis, and support tendons and cartilage. However, most recently, it has gained popularity due to its ability to boost metabolism and aid in burning fat.

What sets AOD 9604 apart is that it stimulates the pituitary gland without affecting tissue growth or blood sugar levels. Additionally, it can burn fat without causing overeating, making it a viable option for obese men and women who are trying to implement better eating habits.

Interestingly, AOD 9604 activates your body's fat-burning processes without requiring an HGH receptor. It also releases obese fat cells and reduces the accumulation of new fat cells. By helping to regulate blood sugar and manage insulin levels, AOD 9604 is excellent for weight loss but also for other maladies like inflammation.

Some conditions that this powerful peptide can help address include the following:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Damaged Cartilage
  • Arthritis
CJC 1295 and Ipamorelin for Weight Loss

CJC 1295 and Ipamorelin for Weight Loss

This medical weight loss supplement Is technically a combo of two peptides. These substances work by stimulating your pituitary gland to produce more of your body's natural human growth hormone, which is secreted during both waking and sleeping periods.

This results in increased protein synthesis and levels of insulin-like growth factors. As hormone secretagogues, they help release hormones into circulation while mimicking the pituitary gland's production. Extensive research has been conducted on the effects of CJC 1295 and Ipamorelin. As a tool for medical weight loss, it has shown very promising results.

That's because when growth hormone levels increase, nutrients are transported through the body faster, more fat is burned, and weight management becomes simpler. Additionally, because CJC 1295 and Ipamorelin increase the amount of growth hormone in your body, it stimulates the breakdown of triglycerides in adipocytes, leading to improved fat metabolism and reduced abdominal fat.

Benefits of CJC 1295 and Ipamorelin for weight loss include:

  • Weight Loss
  • Reduction in Body Fat
  • Boosted Metabolism
  • More Energy
  • Enhanced Immune System
  • More
MIC Injections for Weight Loss

MIC Injections for Weight Loss

A Methionine Inositol Choline (MIC) injection is a mixture of lipotropics that aid in fat breakdown. The key components - methionine, inositol, and choline - work together to metabolize fat cells and eliminate stored fat deposits in the liver and body. Methionine is an important amino acid, inositol contributes to proper cell formation, and choline is a water-soluble nutrient that promotes healthy liver function. When combined, these compounds may help reduce body fat.

When used in conjunction with a medical weight loss plan from Global Life Rejuvenation, MIC injections can be a powerful addition to reclaiming your health and wellbeing.

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Phentermine for Weight Loss

Like other weight loss peptides and medicines on this page, Phentermine can help you lose weight when you stick to a medical weight loss plan that includes dieting, exercise, and smart life choices. It does so by reducing your appetite, which limits the number of calories you eat every day.

As is the case with Semaglutide, Phentermine has been approved by the FDA and is supported by clinical studies that show it can support weight loss. With time, patience, and healthy living, this supplement may help you reach your wellness goals sooner than you thought possible.

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Phentermine for Weight Loss

7-Keto DHEA for Weight Loss

In the body, 7-keto-DHEA is produced from dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which is a hormone made by glands near your kidneys. However, unlike DHEA, 7-keto-DHEA is not converted into androgen and estrogen in your body. Instead, 7-keto-DHEA is used orally or topically to boost your body's metabolism. It also helps convert more of your energy into heat, instead of storing it in your body as fat, which can accumulate with time and lifestyle choices.

Much like Semaglutide treatment in Rockaway, NJ, 7-keto-DHEA has been shown to be very effective for weight loss as well as a host of other issues. Additional benefits of taking 7-keto-DHEA may include the following:

  • Weight Loss
  • Improvement to Lean Muscle Mass
  • Boosted Thyroid Activity
  • Enhanced Memory
  • Anti-Aging Treatment
  • Better Memory

Lipo Scuplt Cream

Have you tried everything under the sun to try and eliminate the cellulite on your legs, arms, and other areas of your body? If you're like most people, getting rid of cellulite isn't just difficult - it's nearly impossible. Fortunately, those days are over. Lipo Sculpt Cream from Global Life Rejuvenation can help reduce the unsightly appearance of cellulite while also refining your figure and firming up your skin.

The active ingredients in this product have the ability to reduce and prevent the growth of fatty tissue while also improving microcirculation. They work together to treat both adipose and aqueous cellulite, and aid in the elimination of fatty deposits and excess water stored in the tissues. This results in a reduction of dimples and an overall improvement in the appearance of your skin.

If you have experienced success with a medical weight loss plan and reached your target weight but still suffer from cellulite, Lipo Sculpt Cream is a fantastic choice to consider. A few of the most common benefits include:

  • Anti-Cellulite Properties Reduce Cellulite and Smooth Skin Dimples
  • Slimming Effect for Reducing Thigh and Waist Circumference
  • Leaves Your Skin Feeling Firm and Healthy
Lipo Scuplt Cream

Health and Wellness Begin with Medical Weight Loss from Global Life Rejuvenation

Are you craving a productive life at a healthy weight? Are you ready to make a meaningful difference in your life and the lives of your loved ones? The pathway to wellbeing starts by contacting our office for an in-depth consultation, where we'll learn more about your weight-loss goals and needs.

From there, we'll create a custom weight-loss plan tailored to your body. This plan will map out the steps of your weight-loss journey, including peptide therapies like Semaglutide in Rockaway, NJ. Though every person's weight management goals are different, when you're a patient at Global Life Rejuvenation, you benefit from dedicated doctors and practitioners committed to improving your weight and, in turn, your health.

Whether your health is on the line, or you don't like how being overweight makes you look and feel, our team is ready to guide you toward long-term health and happiness. This way, you can get healthy, stay in shape, and fall in love with your newfound body.

phone-numberCall Us 866.793.9933

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Latest News in Rockaway, NJ

Teriyaki Madness Arrives in Rockaway, NJ

This is madness!No, this is Teriyaki Madness.Please, don’t kick this messenger down the well, Spartan. Hold up and listen to a tale about one specific taste profile that became the basis of an entire restaurant concept.The Rockaway Town Plaza location of Teriyaki Madness opened in November 2023. Built around options prepared in a sweet, salty, and (sometimes) spicy glaze. And this fast-casual concept includ...

This is madness!

No, this is Teriyaki Madness.

Please, don’t kick this messenger down the well, Spartan. Hold up and listen to a tale about one specific taste profile that became the basis of an entire restaurant concept.

The Rockaway Town Plaza location of Teriyaki Madness opened in November 2023. Built around options prepared in a sweet, salty, and (sometimes) spicy glaze. And this fast-casual concept includes a mad dedication to quality ingredients.

Bowls, bowls, and more bowls. As the manifesto for Teriyaki Madness reads: “It takes big bowls to make something this awesome!”

That something—for many customers—is the chicken teriyaki bowl.

“My favorite also happens to be the number-one selling dish,” said the Rockaway, NJ, Teriyaki Madness operating partner, Tony Santarelli.

“In the chicken teriyaki bowl, you have the choice of thigh or breast,” he said. “For me, thigh is more flavorful. And we make really good fried rice. So, you can get that bowl with fried rice. Sometimes I get a side of the ‘Mad Spicy’ sauce and that brings some thunder. I just stick the edge of my fork in it, and that quenches my need for heat.”

Santarelli is the operating partner of the Rockaway, NJ, Teriyaki Madness location. He’s so stoked on the Madness that he’s signed on for four more locations in the Garden State. Today, though, Santarelli is focused on pleasing the audience dining at his Rockaway Mall location.

Most commonly, meals at Teriyaki Madness go just like Santarelli suggested. If a customer orders a chicken teriyaki bowl, they might also grab a fountain soda, an appetizer—maybe an egg roll, potstickers, or crab rangoon—and perhaps even a chocolate cookie for the road.

When customers aren’t set on the chicken teriyaki bowl or the spicy chicken teriyaki bowl, they might be trying the orange chicken or the steak teriyaki.

“Your typical bowl is white or brown rice, a veggie mix that contains broccoli, zucchini, carrots, onions, cabbage, and then a protein like chicken,” explained Santarelli. “And the sauce changes things up a little bit. Plus, you can customize it with fried rice or noodles as base. Typically, people elect for a bowl and side, as well as a drink.”

The audience has grown as word has spread about the quick, healthy, made-to-order food at Teriyaki Madness. You can order takeout or delivery, or sit down to eat in the restaurant.

Customers looking for vegan, vegetarian, and/or gluten-free food choices will find options available at Teriyaki Madness. “It’s great for multiple audiences,” said Santarelli. “It was very appealing to us because the menu is slanted toward gluten free—which is something my wife and I seek when we go out dining as well. And there are options for no meat—we have tofu, and we have salmon.”

Endless rice and chicken bowls are what dreams are made of for so many health-conscious diners.

“I would say that the key thing for us in the franchise world is that our food comes out hot and made-to-order, and we prep every day,” said Santarelli, about the business’s operating habits.

“For example, the heads of cabbage and the broccoli are fresh. We slice fresh veggies all day, so they are ready for guests. Nothing is pre-cooked and held under a heat lamp. The first thing customers see is our grill section where we’re cooking proteins all day.”

The Teriyaki Madness in Rockaway is the first of five new NJ locations to be managed by Santarelli, who has managed multiple Dunkin Donuts franchises.

Santarelli said he fell in love with the Teriyaki Madness concept because it was a step above fast food with the cook-to-order promise, and had dine-in and takeout options, while still offering quick service.

Teriyaki Madness differs from other concepts like Bubbakoos or Chipotle because “those brands are scoop and go, the food is pre-made and down the line customers are building the product, and the food is instant,” explained Santarelli.

“We’re doing fresh cooking at that exact moment,” he continued. “Customers sit and get a table, or get delivery and we bring it out, to-go, and bag it up. The differentiation there is we have customers that order fresh-cooked and assembled food—nothing has been there since 8 a.m. Even still, there’s an eight-minute speed-of-service expectation, and if you ordered ahead, it should be ready when you get here.”

Teriyaki Madness also provides ordering for curbside pickup through its app, what they call: “Mad Dash.” “It’s essentially drive thru without the drive thru,” said Santarelli. “Customers order ahead, we see on our iPad the progress of their vehicle coming, and we take the order to their car at the curb. Just download the app and select ‘curbside’ for the Mad Dash experience.”

It’s not just dine-in or takeout either. Teriyaki Madness also offers catering to office employees as well as residents in the area who need food for an off-premise event.

“We have a large office population here as well as medical reps and pharma employees, so we’ll do catered lunches or meetings,” said Santarelli. “The quality of the food speaks for itself. There are varieties so most people wouldn’t veto the food. And we don’t just dump it off on the counter, we take pride on setting it up with labels, utensils, plates, and such.”

Overall, Santarelli is betting that New Jersey residents are underserved when it comes to teriyaki-style food.

“I went in on Teriyaki Madness with a partner of mine, and we kind of joined forces because we loved the fresh-cooked food, the very small freezer space, the daily vegetable prep, and the cook-to-order model,” said Santarelli. “It’s a blend of sit down and quick serve where customers can get fresh food in a relatively short period of time. Plus, it’s a taste profile of the food we loved.”

Ultimately, Santarelli was sold on Teriyaki Madness when the food quality and taste met his expectations for how a franchise restaurant should operate. So, keep an eye out for more locations across the state.

Teriyaki Madness 395 Mount Hope Avenue, #600 Rockaway, NJ 973-891-1041

Rockaway Borough Food Truck & Music Festival

Location: Rockaway Borough Fireman’s FieldAddress: 144 Beach Street, Rockaway, 07866Event Date: 07/29/2023Event Time: 11:00 am - 7:00 pmEvent Description:The Rockaway Borough Food Truck & Music Festival takes place on Saturday, July 29, 2023 at Firemans Field in Rockaway. The event is from 11:00 am until 7:00 pm. Admission is $5, but kids under 5 can attend for free. ...

Location: Rockaway Borough Fireman’s Field

Address: 144 Beach Street, Rockaway, 07866

Event Date: 07/29/2023

Event Time: 11:00 am - 7:00 pm

Event Description:

The Rockaway Borough Food Truck & Music Festival takes place on Saturday, July 29, 2023 at Firemans Field in Rockaway. The event is from 11:00 am until 7:00 pm. Admission is $5, but kids under 5 can attend for free. Visit the Just Jersey Fest website to learn more about this event.

The Rockaway Borough Food Truck & Music Festival offers up to 15 food trucks and music all day. Dogs are welcome at this event. Tickets for the festival are available on-site. Follow Just Jersey Fest on Facebook for event updates and more details.

Every Just Jersey Fest festival is guaranteed to feature over 20 gourmet food trucks per event. In addition, all festivals are kid friendly and many events are dog friendly as well. (It’s best to check with each event for more info about rules regarding pets.) Other benefits of Just Just Fest Events include craft beer, sangria, and margarita bars. Plus, all events feature either a live band performance or a DJ.

Just Jersey Fest does ask guests to bring their own blankets or chairs, as they do not provide seating. Likewise, they do not permit outside food, drinks, or coolers. (Food and refreshments are available for sale at every event.) Finally, Just Jersey Fest asks all attendees to consider bringing a non-perishable canned or boxed item for donation. These donations are provided to local food pantrys.

Allison Kohler is the president of both Just Jersey Fest and JMK Shows. With over 35 years of experience in event promotion, she is the premier event organizer for food truck festivals. She also organizes the Big Brew Beer Festival, Beer BBQ Bacon Showdown, Taco Palooza, and many other local festivals.

Click Here To See More Events on Best of NJ.

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Upcoming Events at Rockaway Borough Fireman’s Field:

Celebrating Wellness: Holistic Re-Leaf Unveils its New Cannabis Dispensary in Rockaway, NJ

ROCKAWAY, N.J., March 13, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- A new destination for cannabis connoisseurs is set to open its doors in Morris County. Holistic Re-Leaf, located at 321 Mt. Hope Ave. in the Rockaway Township Mall, is celebrating its grand opening on March 15th, 2024, marking a significant milestone in New Jersey's growing cannabis market. Just an hour outside of New York City and conveniently situated off Route 80 with ample parking, Holistic Re-Leaf is set to become the center of holistic health and wellness in the community.Sherry Hun...

ROCKAWAY, N.J., March 13, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- A new destination for cannabis connoisseurs is set to open its doors in Morris County. Holistic Re-Leaf, located at 321 Mt. Hope Ave. in the Rockaway Township Mall, is celebrating its grand opening on March 15th, 2024, marking a significant milestone in New Jersey's growing cannabis market. Just an hour outside of New York City and conveniently situated off Route 80 with ample parking, Holistic Re-Leaf is set to become the center of holistic health and wellness in the community.

Sherry Hundal, a Denville native, opened Holistic Re-Leaf with the goal of combining conventional wellness with innovative cannabis solutions. With a bachelor's degree from Kansas University and an Ayurvedic Wellness Post Baccalaureate Certificate from the University of Maryland, Hundal brings a distinct viewpoint and a wealth of experience to the cannabis sector.

"As we open the doors to Holistic Re-Leaf, we're not just launching a dispensary; we're cultivating a community centered around healing and holistic well-being," explains Sherry Hundal, owner. "Our goal is to enlighten and educate our customers, offering them a diverse range of premium cannabis products tailored to fit their unique lifestyles and needs."

As a certified MWBE (Minority and Women Business Enterprise) in New Jersey, Holistic Re-Leaf stands out for its commitment to diversity, quality, and community. Customers of Holistic Re-Leaf may look forward to an experience that promotes knowledge, comprehension, and responsible use, in addition to premium cannabis products. The staff at Holistic Re-Leaf is committed to helping our customers understand the many advantages that cannabis can provide.

Grand Opening Event Details:

Date: March 15th, 2024Location: 321 Mt Hope Ave., Rockaway Township Mall, Rockaway, NJ 07866Time: 10:00am - 9:30pm

Join us for a day of celebration, education, and discovery. Experience the Holistic Re-Leaf difference and start on a journey toward better wellness and holistic health.

About Holistic Re-Leaf™:

Holistic Re-Leaf is striving to offer a comprehensive experience that enables our clients to make educated decisions for healthy living, all while upholding purity, potency, and responsible use. We are dedicated to providing premium items that reflect the variety and requirements of our community as a locally owned, woman and minority owned business in New Jersey.

Media Contact:Raman Singh, MarketingEmail: ramanholistic@gmail.comPhone: +1 (845) 420-9449

SOURCE Holistic Re-Leaf Dispensary

They've handed out 450 presents over four years. Meet the Christmas angels of Rockaway

Three years ago, Rockaway Township’s Cathy Vonk passed a giving tree in Denville and decided to help. Supported by friends and family, she has spread the Christmas spirit to hundreds of kids in need since.Vonk was on a coffee run in 2020 when she walked into SmartWorld Coffee on Diamond Spring Road in Denv...

Three years ago, Rockaway Township’s Cathy Vonk passed a giving tree in Denville and decided to help. Supported by friends and family, she has spread the Christmas spirit to hundreds of kids in need since.

Vonk was on a coffee run in 2020 when she walked into SmartWorld Coffee on Diamond Spring Road in Denville and spotted an "Angel Tree" − a Christmas tree festooned with tags requesting gifts for a child. She took one.

Her heart sank a week later when she returned to see no other tags had been claimed. She took two more and turned to Facebook, where she shared an image of the neglected tree alongside the gifts her family had prepared. Then Vonk appealed to her friends. “There are so many kids in need,” she wrote. She offered to do the shopping and wrapping; she just needed donations to help buy the gifts.

That first year, Vonk and her supporters bought presents for more than 100 kids − toy drones and art kits and Barbie Dreamhouses and more. But the holiday spirit didn't end there. Season after season, the family has gone back to Angel Trees in the area. Now in its fourth year, the effort has raised more than $16,000 to buy gifts for some 450 kids and counting.

No strangers to hardship

Vonk, a clerk in Rockaway Township's town hall, empathized with the struggling families. So did her husband, Patrick, who spent time in homeless shelters when he was a young child. Now a civil engineer, he encouraged Cathy's generosity. Childhood sweethearts, they grew up together in Elmwood Park.

"My husband had a very rough start to his life," Cathy Vonk said. "He was a tag on a giving tree more than once. He was without a home more than once."

Of her own upbringing, she said: "We didn't have much growing up, but I didn't know it because my parents were always giving ... If anybody needed a meal, they were at our dining room table."

Vonk returned to that first tree a couple of times in 2020 to check on its progress before deciding to take all of its tags. Her living room looked like Santa’s workshop as the family packaged presents for children of all ages.

Disney dress-up costumes, walkie-talkies, roller skates and scooters: Vonk did what she could within a $40 spending limit for each tag. She added her own money whenever the bill went a little over. In the spirit of Christmas, she always added a little something extra as well.

"We always put candy canes in their bags," she said. "We put small toys like bubbles or slime or a puzzle or a slinky. It's just something extra."

Searching for Angel Trees

Donations came in various amounts, from $5 up to $200. Vonk makes sure that all the money goes toward gifts; she posts pictures on Facebook for contributors to see what they're buying for families.

When the 2021 holiday season rolled around, Vonk found herself in coffee and bagel shops across Morris County searching for more Angel Trees. By that point, her kids were involved, too.

Vince, her 11-year-old son, enjoys sketching and comes along whenever art supplies are requested. He helps his mom pair presents with their tags and package them into cellophane bags. "He asks me every morning, 'Did we get anything overnight? How many kids are we helping today?'" Cathy Vonk said.

More:Where to cut down a Christmas tree in New Jersey and New York this year

Daughter Grace, 8, assists with the buying and is also in charge of morale. It's her encouragement that gets her mom out the door to shop after work. In one of Vonk's Facebook posts, Grace can be seen dancing to Christmas music in front of her mom’s red shopping cart at Target.

“My daughter does all the shopping,” she said. “We call her Head Elf."

Together, the Vonks and their supporters spread Christmas cheer to 121 kids in 2021 and 116 last year. The family has raised and spent between $4,000 and $4,500 each year, with Vonk kicking in about $200 of her own money per season, she said.

Inspired by Boonton pastor

The Angel Trees are the brainchild of Pastor Dunia Velasquez of the King Jesus Rise and Shine International Ministry in Boonton. The nonprofit puts the trees around Morris County each year and typically collects about 1,500 gifts for children whose families are struggling.

The trees were the impetus for the ministry, which started 12 years ago. Like the Vonks, Velasquez has faced hard times. There were a few years when she couldn't put presents under the tree for her own children, she said.

Velasquez refers to everyone who helps with the program as an angel. But Cathy Vonk, she said, is her "special angel."

How to help

Vonk has no intention of stopping. She's shopped for 108 kids so far this year. She's hoping she'll be able to surpass the previous years' totals before donations slow down in the middle of the month.

It's what her parents taught her, she said.

"They always kind of said, 'If you have a little bit, but someone has less than you, you have to give what you can,' and that kind of stuck with me," Vonk said. "When I was looking at that tree with all those tags, I thought, 'Oh, I don't want them to have nothing.' And it just turned into this."

Those interested in donating can email [email protected].

Gene Myers covers disability and mental health for NorthJersey.com and the USA TODAY Network. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @myersgene

Gene Myers covers disability and mental health for NorthJersey.com and the USA TODAY Network. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

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Sugar Leaves Cannabis Dispensary Fighting Rockaway Borough

The NJ adult use cannabis dispensary Sugar Leaves wants to open in Rockaway Borough. But the town awarded multiple resolutions while only allowing two dispensaries.They were always only planning to allow two NJ adult use cannabis dispensaries to open. Rockaway Boroough likely thought the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJ-CRC) would decide who would be allowed to open within their borders.Sugar ...

The NJ adult use cannabis dispensary Sugar Leaves wants to open in Rockaway Borough. But the town awarded multiple resolutions while only allowing two dispensaries.

They were always only planning to allow two NJ adult use cannabis dispensaries to open. Rockaway Boroough likely thought the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJ-CRC) would decide who would be allowed to open within their borders.

Sugar Leaves owner Usman Khawaja is a local Pakistani American seeking to open a New Jersey adult use cannabis dispensary in town. He has launched a petition to get the town to allow him to open.

Khawaja is seeking people to advocate that he be allowed to open at the next council meeting this Thursday, September 28th.

“I was the first one to get a license. The town is telling me you’re going to get it,” he said. “I don’t know what they were thinking. They took the money from all 5,6.”

Rockaway Brough Administrator/ Chief Financial Officer Patricia Reiche has running the local cannabis licensing process.

Sugar Leaves recently received their annual license necessary to open approval from the NJ-CRC since they had a location and the necessary town resolution. But with the town cap they cannot get the final paperwork from Rockaway Borough to open.

“Neither are minorities. One is an MSO (Multi-State Operator corporation),” Khawaja noted. “A millionaire came into town and they forgot about minority businesses.”

Rockway already has a dispensary open with the company Kind Kush.

Fighting for an NJ Adult Use Cannabis Dispensary

Khawaja has worked for nearly 3 years to open an NJ adult use cannabis dispensary. Initially, the town didn’t allow any.

“I advocated for it, I fought for it,” he explained. “I kept going back and forth with the town.

Sugar Leaves has been paying rent on their location in a coveted Green Zone spot where cannabis companies are allowed for 3 years.

“You know how hard it is to get in the zone? I got fucking blessed,” Khawaja exclaimed. “Now they won’t let me open up. That hurts to my core.”

He noted Sugar Leaves could donate 3 to 5 percent of their earnings to the town as a community giveback.

“I want to work with the town. We’re bringing people from this community. We’re hiring minorities,” Khawaja said.

Passionate About Cannabis & Sugar Leaves

He has been passionate about cannabis for years. In 2016 a car accident left him badly injured. Initially he tried legal medical pills to treat the pain.

“I developed anxiety. Here’s an anxiety pill. A month later I was on 5 different meds I never needed,” Khawaja noted.

Cannabis helped him heal.

He thought the name Sugar Leaves would stand out.

The original definition of Sugar Leaves is trimmed weed like “I got the sugar leaves.”*

Khawaja launched Sugar Leaves as a clothing brand first.

He has a background in sales and management. Khawaja was previously an assistant manager at cell phone stores. He came to United States when he was 12 when his family moved to Dover in Morris County from Pakistan.

“This is home. That’s why I’m fighting so hard,” Khawaja said.

Rockaway Borough and Dover have a combined school district so the two towns are closely linked he explained.

At 28 he’s a family guy with 2 kids.

“I’m at work every single day. I would love to be home with my kids,” Khawaja noted.

Running a CBD Store

While he was waiting to open an NJ adult use cannabis, Khawaja opened up a CBD store.

“The town loved me for that. I got the mayor to come in for the ribbon cutting when we opened up the CBD store,” Khawaja noted.

A lot of money that went into converting Sugar Leaves to a NJ adult use cannabis dispensary was generated from the store.

He has been selling Delta 8 and legal Delta 9 THC hemp-derived products and CBD.

“We don’t sell weed,” Khawaja declared.

He noted many smoke shops have been doing so.

But the CBD store sales can be hit or miss.

“Most come wanting actual weed,” Khawaja noted. “People don’t want to hear about that Delta stuff.”

Raising and Spending Money

“I spent over half a million trying to get a build out. I have money invested,” he noted.

Khawaja said he raised the money from smaller personal loans from friends and family.

“I put too much money into it: I can’t just move to another spot. I don’t have money to move. I’m running on my last fuckin dime,” he lamented.

Khawaja said the construction and conversion of his CBD store to a licensed New Jersey adult use recreational cannabis dispensary is almost complete.

“I’m 80 percent done with my build-out. I could open in less than a month,” he noted. “I don’t need millions of dollars to do it.”

Wary of Many Cannabis Investors

“The State is telling us you need money. But they want you to partner with investors. They’re leeches,” Khawaja exclaimed. “They want… everything from you.”

He is in a Catch-22.

“The investor wants the town to give me my last permit. The town wants me to show investors before they give me the license,” Khawaja lamented. “I don’t know how to move forward.”

“If I could get town approval, then I could be in a better position negotiating,” he noted. “They want me to be desperate to take these deals.”

“We want 50 percent of your company. I know a lot of suppliers. We would be able to get the inventory without paying upfront,” Khawaja recounted investors saying.

He explained investors are uninterested in Social Equity and giving back to the community. They want to take it over and make him a figurehead puppet.

Khawaja is fearful he could lose the company to investors. Some potential investors wanted 60 percent of the company.

He tried to enter the NJ-EDA’s grant program for cannabis companies. But their initial pilot program filled up quickly.

“As a minority, what are we supposed to do? The State isn’t helping. The towns are not helping,” Khawaja said. “Minorities don’t have the money to open up.”

His story is not unique. Khawaja is not the only one telling horror stories about potential licensed New Jersey cannabis business investors.

Determined to Move Forward

Khawaja is unhappy that for all the great rhetoric that went into passing New Jersey cannabis legalization, the results seem very different.

“They’re supposed to be helping minorities out,” he declared.

Despite the time and the great difficulty, he has made great progress jumping over the hurdles of the New Jersey cannabis industry.

“It’s not easy. I have a passion for it. That’s the only reason I stuck along,” Khawaja noted.

“This is what I was meant to do with my life. It’s truly what I believe. I gotta just keep moving forward. This is the fight of our lives,” he added. “Either I gotta sue the town, or I gotta sue the State.”


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