EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Some heroes are easier to spot than others. Some wear uniforms and lots of gear. Some teach classes and fill minds with ideas. Some put on masks and remove a cancer before it grows. These days, some are just kids. Emma Hornstein is one of those kids. This East Brunswick High School sophomore and Girl Scout started Make a Change, the first diaper bank in the township, only one of two in all of Middlesex County. Now she's being honored for her service to parents and babies while looking for ways to expand the program she started.
On May 8 at 10:30 at the Civic Center Fire Station at 310 Rues Lane (near CVS) Ella will receive the Community Service Award from East Brunswick's AARP Chapter #4855. The award includes a plaque and a $250 check. At the event, Ella will speak about her project, its sustainability, and the need for donations.
Dr. Jo-Anne Bijas of the East Brunswick High School Social Studies Department nominated Ella for the award, based on her successful yet ongoing project to help families with young children afford diapers. Diapers are generally not supplied by food banks in New Jersey, so Ella and the Girl Scouts in her troop saw a need and addressed it.
"I wanted to see what I could do to help kids, " Hornstein said on a recent visit to the Crisis Room. "I learned that diapers are expensive and that it is difficult for lots of people to afford them. My Girl Scout leader Laurel Van Leer suggested that I might want to start a diaper bank at the Crisis Room.
As an active member of East Brunswick's Troop #81355, she taught little kids in town how to "Stop, Drop, and Roll" and other safety procedures to earn her Bronze Award, the highest award a Junior Girl Scout can achieve. She then went on to earn her Silver Award by driving the contribution of over 3,000 children's books to the St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton. Indeed, so many books were collected that Ella is starting to bring them to the libraries in Paterson. Now, she is working the seven-step project required to earn her Gold Award by addressing the local needs of parents and children in East Brunswick and the surrounding area.
Ella began her project in conjunction with the Food Pantry at the Crisis Room at Aldersgate Methodist Church on Ryders Lane to open the first public diaper bank in our area. She has started the "Make a Change" (pun intended) diaper project with the hope of helping the Crisis Center to help families get the supplies they need. Here's the website that tells you how to help!
"I wanted to see what I could do to help kids, " Hornstein said. "I learned that diapers are expensive and that it is difficult for lots of people to afford them. My Girl Scout leader Laurel Van Leer suggested that I might want to start a diaper bank at the Crisis Room.
Hornstein has recently set her sights on making a special pitch to encourage diaper donations for Mother's Day. She says, "Looking for a gift idea? Celebrate your mom by donating diapers (size 4 and 5 are especially needed) to the Crisis Room in East Brunswick."
Drop-off locations are located at the EB Recreation Center, the Mayor's office and inside Aldersgate Methodist Church. There is also donation bin outside of the Crisis Room that can take diapers at any time.