Giving Back

At the Giving Nest, Children Learn ‘The Gift of Giving’

This year's Family Holiday Sing featured featured holiday songs and a special visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, an Elf and Rudolph’s friend Shiloh the Great Dane. 
Money donated by GIving Nest families enabled the school to help three local families this holiday season. 
Santa, Mrs. Claus, an Elf, Rudolph’s friend Shiloh and Duckling teacher Kelly Hayward at the Giving Nest of North Plainfield's Family Holiday Sing.   
Do you want to build a snowman? 

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Throughout the year, one of the goals of the Giving Nest Preschool and Kindergarten is to nurture children and teach them the importance of giving back and helping others.

“Even though our students are only between the ages of 2 and 6 we want them to know that they have so much to give to others – a smile, a kind word, a big hug, an amazing picture and much more,” said Mary Sue Frank, who, along with Debbie Hannon, founded the Giving Nest Preschool 25 years ago.

This message especially rings true at the Giving Nest during the holidays.

Sign Up for E-News

“Every December, the children hear a story entitled The Gift of Giving. The story is about families that love their children very much but they are very poor. They want to buy new clothes and toys for their children but they don’t have the money,” said Frank.

Reading The Gift of Giving to Giving Nest students each year, said Frank, is now a 25-year tradition.

“Each year, our children hear about these families and they decide that they will do chores at home to earn $2,” said Frank. “I stress that, to make this happen, we have to work together.  Two dollars is not enough money to buy clothes and toys but if we put our money together we can make dreams come true.”

This year, the children from the Giving Nests’ North Plainfield, Bridgewater, Warren and Martinsville schools raised $969.75, which was used to purchase a variety of gifts, including clothing, toys and other items, for the three families, which include a single-mom with children, a 15-year-old boy and three girls, ages 14, 8 and 6; a mom and dad (dad recently had a stroke) with four boys ages 17, 15, 10 and 7; and a mom raising two boys, ages 9 and 10, and a girl, age 7. Frank bought $487.48 worth of gifts at Target, $120.83 at Kreations by Ann and $13.81 at Toys R Us as well as $347.63 at ShopRite.

“From the bottom of our hearts we express our deepest gratitude. The children have given the greatest gift of all – the ‘gift of giving,’” said Frank.

During a recent morning Community Sing at the North Plainfield school, Frank showed the children all the things she was able to purchase because of their generosity.

“I begin by asking questions to help the children understand and be aware of all the things they have and possibly take for granted,” she said. “For instance, I ask what they wear when they go out on a cold winter morning. Hands are eagerly raised and they tell me they put on their coats, hats, scarves, boots, and mittens.”

She continued, “Then I hold up the coats, hats and mittens I purchased for each child and tell them that because of them, these children now have their very own warm coat, hat and mittens. I explain that before they had to wear hand-me-downs from older siblings, friends or cousins.” 

Frank also asks the students what they use to cover themselves with in bed on a cold, winter night.

“Again, hands are raised and shouts of ‘my sheet,’ my quilt,’ ‘my blanket’ are heard," she said. "I hold up the blankets I purchased for each child and adult and say ‘because of you these children and adults will go to bed and be able to cover themselves with these warm, soft and cuddly blankets. Before these families would be cold in bed or they would have to share a blanket.”

Last year, the Baroi family was among the families the Giving Nest helped and, this year, siblings Diantha, 10, and Darvin, 8, paid it forward, sending in their own $10 donation from money they earned doing such chores as dishes, cooking dinner and tiding up.  

“Last year, you gave us the stuff we wanted for Christmas. We were so happy. Thank you for making that Christmas memorable,” Diantha and Darvin said in a letter to the Giving Nest. “This year, we want you to take our chore money. Then, you can give some kids the stuff they want. They'll be happy like us.”

In addition to displaying the items purchased for the families during Community Sing, Frank also put them on display at this year’s Family Holiday Sing, which took place on Dec. 12. The annual event featured holiday songs and a special visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, an Elf and Rudolph’s friend Shiloh the Great Dane. Children also had the opportunity to have their photos taken with Santa, Elsa and Olaf, enjoy refreshments, listen to holiday stories read by North Plainfield teacher Jill Presley and draw pictures.

“This event is a family favorite! During a busy time of year, it allows families to just be together for an hour!  As we sing holiday songs, families snuggle on blankets that they lay on the floor,” said Frank. “To me; this is what the holidays are all about:  Family, gratitude, kindness and giving.”

For more information about the Giving Nest Preschool and Kindergarten, visit Prospective parents can also contact the school of their choice by calling North Plainfield at (908) 754-2060; Watchung at (908) 222-1003; Martinsville at (732) 302-1321; Bridgewater at (908) 704-9555; or Warren at (732) 893-8222

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events

Wed, July 18, 9:00 AM

The Wayrick Gallery, Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: NJ Audubon Photography Instructors’ ...

Arts & Entertainment Green

Wed, July 18, 9:00 AM

The Center for Contemporary Art, Bedminster,

2018 Members’ Non-Juried Exhibition & Sale

Arts & Entertainment

Thu, July 19, 9:00 AM

The Wayrick Gallery, Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: NJ Audubon Photography Instructors’ ...

Arts & Entertainment Green

Somerville Woman Arrested for Shoplifting from Macy's, According to Bridgewater Police Report

July 14, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - A Somerville woman was arrested for allegedly shoplifting more than $400 worth of merchandise from Macy's at the Bridgewater Commons Mall July 7, according to a report from Bridgewater Township Police.

Sara Morales-Silva, 51, was charged with shoplifting after she was found with about $435.04 worth of merchandise from the store.

She was processed and released pending a ...

Creating a Dynamite Job Portfolio

July 18, 2018

The job market continues to change, as does the way we look for work. This Workshop examines the value of presenting yourself as a complete package by using a resume as an introduction to an employer and backing it up with a portfolio presented at the interview.

How You Will Benefit:

Learn how to brand yourself and define yourself using descriptive language.
Explore the essential ...

Somerville: Gallery Hosts Photo Society's 90th Anniversary Exhibit

July 15, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Arts on Division is presenting “Visions of Raritan Photographic Society – A Celebration of 90 years” from Thursday, July 19 to Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018 at the Gallery on Division, 15B Division Street.

The Raritan Photographic Society, founded in 1929, is the oldest photography club in New Jersey. The exhibit celebrates the organization's 90 years ...

'Servant of Two Masters' exudes foolish fun

‘Servant of Two Masters’ makes for foolish, frivolous fun

By Liz Keill

MADISON, NJ –Carlo Goldoni’s “The Servant of Two Masters,” in a rousing translation and adaptation by Bonnie J. Monte, has the outdoor audience at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey laughing and clapping all the way through.

The yearly production, held at the amphitheatre on the ...

Take Action to Reduce Debt

In our last article, we broached the subject of debt and the township’s reliance – or over-reliance – on debt to fund our yearly expenditures for items such as roads. So, ok, we want to reduce our reliance on debt moving forward, especially as the cost of borrowing is rising. What’s the solution?

Well, there’s no magic wand we can wave to suddenly end ...

Is the Mediterranean Diet Still the Best for Heart Healthy Eating?

The Mediterranean diet has long been the standard for heart healthy eating.  It is a diet that emphasizes olive oil, fresh vegetables, nuts, whole grains over refined grains, fish and plant-based protein over red meat, herbs and spices to flavor food over salt, and fresh fruit for dessert instead of refined sweets. The US News and World Report even named the Mediterranean diet its ...

Celebrate Summer with Freedom & Responsibility

Parents and students rejoice!

School is out and everyone can now experience a great sense of freedom. Kids want to be outside enjoying summer weather and; although it’s the most wonderful season for non-academic activities involving swimming, traveling, and hiking to name a few, let us not forget that summer loss is a serious long-term result of not opening a book or writing for eight ...

Unique Skill Set Offers Students an Advantage

One of our SAT prep students recently gained a lot of attention for being accepted to all seven of the Ivy League schools to which she had applied, as well as to Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) She has chosen to attend M.I.T. and major in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Of course, Diana had earned stellar SAT scores and had a most impressive ...

Geoffrey the Giraffe Moves In To New Brunswick Children's Hospital

July 12, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Over a stretch of nearly 70 years, Geoffrey the Giraffe at Toys R Us stores was the symbol of happy times for generations of children, and now he may provide those same feelings for children coming to a hospital.

"From this day forward, Geoffrey stands tall in our lobby to encourage our smallest patients to smile when they enter our facilities," said John ...