MORRISTOWN, NJ - Many people find themselves using their talents to give back to their communities. For Morristown resident Elizabeth Ostendorp, her talent in ceramics inspired her to make a special gift to raise money for those in need: magnets.

“I speak for any parent, it’s terrible,” said Ostendorp. “We’re all doing something impossible from here, raising and teaching our kids under quarantine. It’s a national crisis so we’re all in this together.”

Ostendorp has been a teacher of ceramics at Morristown High School for the last seven years. She also serves as the vice-president of teacher’s union, owns her own business, Ellie Lou Ceramics, right out of her own basement.

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But since the lockdown, Ostendorp has made it her mission to use her Skills to make and sell magnets.

“I wanted to do something to give back to my community and I just had this bag of clay and used them to make these magnets,” said Ostendorp.

In total, Ostendorp and her family have made a total of 300 magnets, many of which contain messages like “Love Stayed Home 2020” and “Morristown Strong.” Such encouraging messages have helped many to stay strong. In recent weeks, Ostendorp has been able to raise $1,200 for the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund, as well as $1360 to the Help MorrisNOW program, which uses the funds to purchase and distribute food supplies to local families.

The Morris County Council of Education Associations itself brought 75 magnets (amounting to $700) for New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund. And seeing all these purchases and raised funds makes Ostendorp proud and emotional.

“I’m not a hero,” said Ostendorp. “I just raised the money. I can see my students in these food lines. I just feel honored that I had some way I can do to raise that money. And the end of the day, it was work but not taxing work. It was a way to help out and I didn’t think it would sell out so fast. Now my students have something to eat this week and the next.”

As of now, Ostendorp intends to take a break from making and selling magnets. Yet, when the summer comes along, and if there are families still being affected by the pandemic, she plans to head back down to her basement and make more magnets.

“Anyone who has any crafty talent, this is a way great way to take it, raise money and help others,” said Ostendorp. “It’s great to see the communities come together. We need each other right now.”

For more information, and how to donate and buy magnets, visit Ostendorp’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/lizziegrigio?__tn__=%2CdC-R-R&eid=ARBbQZIhmIKWV9jmJuNfH0n-VqDRVVhAWW7K9WXRcgus1-oW7mAvfOKivmQBBz8cuZGcKZbISaM79gI2&hc_ref=ARS1dbC0fpXBEkBiGnP-ZgNip0wSvXPNSTLdr-Ha1ggBWieSNOflxo8gCXmlkqThoo8&fref=nf, visit the website of Ellie Lou Ceramics at https://www.ellielouceramics.com/.