LIVINGSTON, NJ — LTownCares, founded by Livingston residents Liby Saigal and Deepa Pisupati, recently donated 240 “Homeless Bags” filled with scarves, gloves, socks, hats and hand warmers to homeless individuals in nearby towns.
Saigal and Pisupati discovered each other on Facebook while commenting on the same thread in the Ltown Lowdown community group. Both women were collecting items for food-insecure individuals in need and decided to join forces.
Prior to partnering with Pisupati, Saigal mentioned that she had previously collected and shipped items to various shelters, including a shipment to Costa Rica, and also hosted a turkey drive for those less fortunate in Jersey City.
Pisupati’s latest initiative was filling “Blessing Bags” for people in need by announcing her collections on the Ltown Lowdown. According to Pisupati, the residents of Livingston showered her with donations. In fact, she said that community members generously help her whenever she requests assistance and that they motivated her to continue to collect and donate.
“After the immense generosity shown by this community with the Blessings Bags, I was encouraged to do more,” she said. “This time around, I was lucky to find a great person like Liby to work with. She is very organized, determined and more important than that, has the same goal in mind, which is to help as many people as we can.”
Over the past few weeks, the pair has collected money to purchase new products to include in the Homeless Bags and said they have been overwhelmed by the generosity of fellow Livingston residents.
“We posted on the LTown Lowdown page that we wanted to collect $10 to $15 to buy new items, and within three days we had raised close to $3,000 from our community,” they said, adding that the response to their request for funding was so inspiring that they decided to call their organization “LTownCares.”
The next step was ordering the items and determining which shelters to donate to. Saigal reported that after some research, they found shelters in Jersey City, Newark and Irvington.
Once they had purchased all the items needed, the women posted again on the Ltown Lowdown Facebook page to request volunteers to help stuff the bags; and once again, Facebook delivered.
“I had 20-plus volunteers at my house bagging 240 bags,” said Saigal. “Those bags went out Monday (Nov. 18) to shelters in Jersey City, Irvington and Newark.”
With the leftover funds, Saigal purchased $10 ShopRite gift cards and presented them to the National Council of Jewish Women’s (NCJW) center for families in need to help them purchase holiday meals.
In addition to the warming items, LtownCares also purchased and delivered hygienic products for women and girls in shelters.
As for future collections, Saigal said that there are various projects now being organized under the umbrella of LtownCares.
“Our goal is to join hands and help those in need,” she said. “We plan to get our community involved in helping the less fortunate three-to-four times each year. We’re sending toys and books to the children’s hospital—that’s the next chapter—collecting blankets and raising funds for school supplies for families and teachers.
“I learned from my parents that giving back is a blessing, and that’s how I am raising my children. We contribute to helping others any way that we can and whenever we can.”
Pisupati expressed gratitude to the community, stating that every time she appeals to Livingston residents to pitch in, they always respond generously.
“It has been a great experience,” she said. “The generosity of the people here doesn’t surprise me, but fills me to the point of overflowing with gratitude. They step up every single time to help.”
Pisupati said her goal is to show homeless people that they are not invisible and to make sure they have food, can shower and are warm in the winter.
“There are a lot of people suffering,” she said. “They are hungry, sleep in cardboard boxes and are exposed to this cold weather day in and out. It’s absolutely heartbreaking.
“I also want to find people who can teach skills to those who are able to work so they can get off the streets. I want to show them that there is love all around them. That is my deepest desire.”
Click here for more information about LTownCares.