MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ - With two teenage children, a husband in the military, a busy job as a physical therapist and adjunct professor, the late Lenore Lafferty surely had to use magic to get it all done. The woman behind the magic was easy to talk to, courageous, witty, intelligent … one of Staten Island and Mountainside’s best. Her friends and family, devastated by her passing this past July, created a charitable organization called “Make the Magic Happen” with the intention of doing good deeds in Lenore’s name.
The idea for “Make the Magic Happen” came from Sarah Lafferty, Lenore's sister-in-law and one of her best friends. Lafferty said, “I would call her, and she would be making dinner and helping the kids do their homework at the same time. I would be like ‘Hey, what are you doing?’ and she would say, ‘I’m just trying to make the magic happen’.” And that is how it came to be.
When asked what the goal of the foundation was, Lafferty said, “I think moving forward we just want to do small, tangible things the kids can take part in that can also make a difference in other peoples’ lives; what might seem simple but in a deep, meaningful way.”
The idea behind the kick-off event began with brainstorming from friends and family, all of whom pitched in and took on different roles. On Sunday, November 22, 2020, everyone gathered in the driveway of a friend’s house on Old Tote Road in Mountainside. With several tables, boxes, banners, and balloons set up, the event consisted of four stations: a food drive station, a coat drive station, a basket-making station, and a letter to the troop's station.
Social media, including the all-new Instagram account @makethemagichappen16, along with word of mouth, generated the large turnout for this first event. All the mask wearing, socially distanced attendees showed up with huge bags of coats, boxed/canned foods, and high spirits.
Governor Livingston student and attendee Kendall Torres said, “I helped package the cookies [for the baskets], make cards for the troops, and sort out the coats.”
The mastermind behind the organization’s logo, Governor Livingston student Sofia Vega, has a special connection to the foundation. Lenore Lafferty is her mother, and they had an incredible bond. The logo (shown above) has a lot of meaning as it is a symbol of all of Lenore's favorite things. Vega said, “A lot of the things I crafted the logo out of were things that held value with her and me.”
Vega said, “I really want to bring the community together to honor her memory. I would like to give back a little bit to everyone who helped us … [who] really gave her last few months purpose, and really helped our family out, and made it more comfortable for us.”
Later in the day Torres, Vega, and several of the students and children who attended, including Vega’s brother Alex, delivered the cookie-and-candy-filled baskets to the front line workers and valuable members of the town. Baskets were delivered to the Mountainside Rescue Squad, Fire Department, and Police Station, Mayor Paul N. Mirabelli, Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Deerfield and Beechwood Schools, and many more.
With the hope that the foundation can keep its momentum going, the members want to keep it small and homegrown; sustainable through families and friends is their goal for now.
The people behind “Make the Magic Happen” want the reader to know that making the magic does not have to be a big task. In the words of Torres, “doing something small to brighten up someone's day is really what it's all about.”
And so, I leave you with this -- every day try to do something kind, in the name of Lenore Lafferty, and in the name of “making the magic happen.”