LIVINGSTON, NJ — Local comediennes Jennifer Bahler and Ilana Saltzman recently produced an 18-day series called “Livingston’s Got Talent” (LGT), which will feature daily video clips of Livingston residents showcasing their expertise from May 16 to June 2 and will benefit Livingston Philanthropies, Inc. (LPI).
Inspired by the recent ‘”Livingston Sings!” telethon, which benefited Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors, Bahler explained that she and Saltzman “wanted to put together more entertainment for our community under quarantine, while also raising money for LPI.”
As the co-founders of Comedy Writers & Performers of LTown, or “LTown Comedy,” the duo partnered with resident Robert Stern of The Social Leader, LPI founder Jeffrey Friedman and LTown Comedy member Vihan Khanna to organize a similar event.
They ultimately recruited 18 acts—four from adults and the remainder from local youth—by posting an invitation on Facebook for residents to submit a five-minute video showcasing their talent.
Some of these acts include:
- Livingston High School students playing violin and alto saxophone
- Elementary school students exhibiting complex Lego projects
- Hula hooping
- Dancing and gymnastics
- A mother and daughter duo playing the fiddle and Irish dancing
- Matthew Smith, a finalist from “MasterChef Junior”
- The owner of Antonio's Salon and Spa singing a comical song with his piano
- Several adults singing and/or playing guitar
- Classical Indian folk dancing
- A couple of children comedians
All donations, which can be made directly through the LGT Facebook page, will go directly to LPI.
Bahler explained that LTown Comedy selected LPI as the benefactor because her 10-year-old son has been volunteering weekly for LPI after a family trip to Boston sparked his interest in helping the homeless population.
The organization was established in 2011, when Friedman and his wife, Karen, took their volunteer efforts outside of serving food at St. John’s Soup Kitchen and began collecting gloves and coats, toiletries, family clothing, shoes, men’s suits, dress attire, diapers, women’s products, cosmetic gift bags, specialty items and more to be distributed “the poor, homeless and disenfranchised.”
Friedman quickly discovered the generosity of the Livingston community, and went from being “The Coat Guy” to the founder of an official 501©3 non-profit organization, which means that LPI can now officially accept monetary contributions as well as product donations.
"It's more important than ever to provide for homeless and profoundly poor during the pandemic,” said Friedman. “The funds raised for LPI will be used immediately to purchase and ship cases of food and spring water to help serve those living way below the poverty line.”
He added that LPI is extremely grateful to receive the much-needed help from LGT during this especially difficult time.
“Bravo 'Livingston's Got Talent,' and thank you to LPI's altruistic Livingston friends and neighbors for their kind support," he said.