NUTLEY, NJ - As news of the passing of local business leader Keith Jaret spread through the community, everyone who knew him, or even met him for a moment, expressed their sorrow, and then asked "what can I do to help?"
Jaret, who along with his wife Maureen, own Jaret's Stuffed Cupcakes, built a reputation that exceeded the expectations of any entrepreneur. Sure, the cupcakes themselves have been hailed by Oprah, countless news presenters, and event planners across the region, but the thing everyone remembers most about Keith is his generosity.
Charities, the ones that really roll up their sleeves and do the hard work for those most in need, all share similar stories about Jaret: he would always ask two questions: "how many people?" and "when do I need to be there?"
Jaret knew that these galas and tastings generated thousands of dollars for their beneficiaries, and his presence could make a difference in the life of someone unknown to him. Keith supported events that raised funds for everything from pediatric medicine at St. Joe's, to groups benefiting the victims of domestic violence, to helping those dealing with food insecurity. In those rare circumstances where he had another commitment, he would find a way that his stuffed cupcakes would get to the event to make life a little sweeter for someone going through a rough patch.
Jaret passed away on February 8 while waiting for a liver transplant. He contracted Hepatitis C from a blood transfusion following a serious injury when he was a teenager. His treatments led to cirrhosis of the liver and cancer. Just after Christmas 2017, Jaret did not feel well and thought it may be a stomach bug. The doctors told him that he needed a liver transplant. Members of the community held blood and tissue testing drives upon hearing of the prognosis. Medical bills also came pouring in, and continue to arrive after his passing.
Although insured, the policies that are available to small business owners only cover so much. A YouCaring page was set up by friends to help with the ever arriving medical bills.
Anyone can make a donation in any amount to help the family. The page Help Keith Jaret Rock'n'Roll over Cancer! was set up prior to his passing but the need is still there.
Friends local to the Jarets can sign up for the "Meal Train." Meal Trains connects families who can use some support with those who are willing to provide a meal. Those who want to participate can check the calendar for the next available date and enter information about what they are providing. The meal can be a home cooked meal, take-out picked up from a restaurant, or even gift cards to a local restaurant. More details can be found at "Meal Train for the Jaret Family"
When Keith passed he left behind a loving wife, children, grandchildren, and countless friends. In the charity community, he left some mighty big shoes to fill.