The Lawrence Community Center has a long, rich history that involves the hard work and dedication of many community members. The center was first known as the Lawrence Neighborhood Center, which was located in the little white house sitting across from our current location. The small, one-room building had its beginnings as a church, but soon became a place for community members to dream up big plans and provide immeasurably helpful resources to the community. The neighborhood center had no plumbing, heating or cooling, yet the ideas inside thrived. The Community Action Council used the neighborhood center as headquarters, producing their monthly publication and organizing invaluable groups, such as the Credit Union. This committee fought for the construction of Eggerts Crossing Village, a residential community located minutes from the Lawrence Community Center.
In 1971, neighborhood advocate Fred Vereen Jr. brought about plans for a new neighborhood center to be built next door. Soon thereafter, the construction was halted and the half-built center sat unfinished for a year. After battling for its completion, the center was finally finished and the coming possibilities to assist and engage the community were endless. As you can see from the copies of the original publications below, the new center held activities such as child fashion show fundraisers and varied sports teams. Around four decades later, Lawrence Township asked HomeFront NJ, the nonprofit helping families break the cycle of poverty, to take the center under its wing and transform it into an inclusive community center that provides low income assistance and priority.
The Lawrence Community Center is a place for fun, unity and learning, as shown by its longstanding roots in the Lawrence community. Fred Vereen Jr., the long-time Lawrence Community Center board member who led the charge to build the center for this community, has graciously offered his personal collection of decades of news clippings, article and event postings. We hope you enjoy taking a dive into our rich history and past accomplishments.