LIVINGSTON, NJ — Livingston residents are enthusiastic about giving back to their own community as well as surrounding communities. In addition to several Livingston groups that help those in need, several individuals are also using the power of social media to ask for donations, and they are receiving a great deal of items.
Among some of the local organizations comprised of residents generously giving their time and resources to help others are:
- Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors; which provides short-term financial assistance to individuals in town who are experiencing unexpected hardships.
- Livingston Philanthropies, Inc. (LPI), which collects and delivers coats, clothing, food, toiletries and other necessities to churches that distribute them to homeless individuals in Newark and East Orange; and
- Ltown Cares, which has been collecting and donating items to Jersey City, Newark and Irvington residents.
But in addition to these organizations, some local residents have also joined the ranks of those assisting others and started collecting items on their own.
One such individual is resident Susan Sass, an inner-city schoolteacher for more than 30 years who often appeals to Livingston residents to donate scarves, clothes and classroom supplies to benefit her students.
Sass said she has been overwhelmed by the response she has received from residents over the past few decades, stating that “everyone in Livingston is so incredibly generous.”
She shared that when she sees something her students and/or their families need she “wants to help as much as [she] can.” Sass encourages neighbors and friends to drop off items at her house, and said she is always pleasantly surprised when she returns home from work to see “bags and bags of donations each day.”
For the last five years, Sass has been posting about the items needed on community Facebook groups, where she feels she can reach the greatest amount of people.
“I’m amazed and appreciative of everyone’s generosity,” said Sass.
Most recently, Sass requested and received donations of frying pans, non-perishable food items, paper towels, napkins, cleaning supplies, baking pans, gift cards for place like Lowes, Home Depot and Michaels, chairs, spices and condiments.
Sass explained that her parents were philanthropic; so when she saw that families within her school community needed help, she immediately sprung into action.
Another busy Livingston resident who’s been helping others is Weichert realtor Shari Rabinowitz Miller, whose children like to joke that she is “the White Oprah Winfrey.”
As a realtor, Miller said she “treats [her] clients like family and makes sure no one gets taken advantage of.”
A few years ago, Miller became involved with the Episcopal Church in Orange, where she began donating Thanksgiving turkeys, clothing, coats and toys that she had collected.
She recalled one story where a man approached her while she was delivering the donated items to ask if she had a winter coat. Although she couldn’t help the man at the time, Miller took his address, collected money, purchased a coat and delivered it to him.
In another instance, Miller posted an appeal on Facebook and received several donations after a woman from the City of Orange school district reached out to her about collecting clothing for students in grades K-5. Miller handed the donations off to a social worker in Orange to be distributed, but she has continued to collect clothing and coats for the school ever since. According to Miller, the students love receiving new additions to their wardrobes.
Miller has inspired her own children to give back to their community. In fact, her daughter recently completed her Bat Mitzvah project of collecting dance costumes for Traveling Tutus, an international organization that provides new and gently used dance costumes to children who can’t afford them.
Miller also volunteers for the Interfaith Food Pantry in Morristown and has solicited items for Weichert’s annual Toy Drive for the last decade.
She is currently selling Maddis Bar/Bat Mitzvah dresses and donating the profits to the church and food pantry.
Like Sass, Miller inherited her giving nature from her parents, who taught her to do what she can to help others.
To share more stories about giving back to the Livingston community, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.