SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – There’s been a whole lot of ‘ding, dong, ditch’ going on throughout the community the past two weeks but, unlike the game typically played by youngsters and teens, the South Plainfield version is open only to women age 21 and older.
As members of the Facebook group ‘Sisterhood of the Traveling Booze - SoPo edition,’ female residents – i.e. ‘booze fairies’ – are working around the clock to surprise friends and neighbors, sneakily ringing doorbells and dropping off packages containing adult beverages and other treats.
“I thought this was a clever way to keep the ladies of South Plainfield from going all the way off the deep end during this insane time,” said resident Kristen DeRoma, telling TAPinto that she got the idea from her sister who lives in Somerville. “She was telling me about a similar group and suggested I start something here with between me and my girlfriends.”
DeRoma launched the page on May 22 invited a close-knit group of friends and later that night extended the invitation to other females on her Facebook friends list. Over the next day, interest in the group ‘exploded’ with friends of friends invited other women to join and, in little over a week, the group has grown to 1,000-plus members with more and more women joining each day.
“We have been stuck home for 11 weeks now and I just think it is something different and it brings people happiness,” said DeRoma. “Everyone is so excited to come home and see something on their doorsteps.”
As a member, one is encouraged to introduce themselves on the page, provide a little blurb about themselves and their likes, including choice of drinks, snacks, etc., and send a private message to the group’s administrators that includes their name, address, and preference of drink and/or other treats. The information is compiled onto a document accessible only to those who join the group. Members, a.k.a. ‘booze fairies,’ can access the list and drop off surprises. Additionally, both givers and receivers are also welcome to post their ‘gifts’ on the page.
To date, said DeRoma, the ‘SoPo Sisterhood’ has ‘provided a positive distraction’ as well as helped local women get out of the house, boosted sales at local businesses – especially the liquor stores - while also supporting small business through the sale of the homemade merchandise many are also gifting along the way.
“South Plainfield has some of the most creative women I have ever seen. Some of the little gifts are just extraordinary and so many of the group’s members have really stepped up their game,” said DeRoma, adding that there is no limit to how many times someone can be ‘boozed.’
“You can be ‘boozed’ more than once, but, so far, everyone who has joined has been checking the address list and working to ensure that everyone gets ‘boozed’ at least once. I think that is fantastic,” she said.
While the group is strictly for women ages 21 and up, delivering the goodies has quickly grown into something that gets kids out of the house and off electronics. And, for those who don’t drink or who prefer non-alcoholic choices, members of the group have also been delivering snacks, candy, and other treats.
“The goal is for the group to be fun and enjoyable [and] SoPo ladies have come together – old friends and new friends brought smiles and happiness and fun back,” DeRoma stated on the page.
“Thank you, Kristen DeRoma. This group is so heartwarming. I love seeing what everyone is getting and giving! It makes me so happy to see how all of these ladies, mostly strangers, have come together to make others happy,” stated resident Ashley Garcia on the ‘Sisterhood’ Facebook page, adding, “This is really something amazing. We all thank you so much for organizing this and I thank everyone for participating.”
“This group has been amazing and brought such joy during this crappy time,” said Jennifer Pacio-Gambino, adding that she’s ‘met some new friends and reconnected with some old ones.’ “Thanks again for this group and to Debbie for doing the spreadsheet... Can’t wait to keep boozing.”
"Thank you," stated Lisa Barretta-Abate. "I'm getting to meet people in town that I have never meet before and finding out we have things in common."
"This group has been so much fun! The best part has been getting to meet so many awesome woman who I probably would have never met. Thanks for putting this together," stated Cindy Jimenez, telling TAPinto, "This group has been such a stress reliever...The women in this community are awesome."
The ‘Sisterhood of the Traveling Booze - SoPo edition’ Facebook page is hidden; to become a member, one must be invited and be a woman, 21 years of age and older residing in South Plainfield - anyone underage and the person who adds them will be removed and blocked. Out of respect for privacy, members are not to share information, including addresses, with anyone outside the group and, when delivering, ‘booze fairies’ should maintain social distancing. Members are also encouraged to share pictures of their gifts – whether given or received – on the Facebook page.
“I want to thank everybody who has joined; the group is nothing without them,” said DeRoma, telling TAPinto that the support – from the women who joined to resident Debbie Pfeifer Pope for taking the initiative to create the Google document with addresses to members Michele Billich and Veronica Green coming up with the idea to create the logo Heather Lynn Rienzo designed – has been amazing.
“This is what it’s about – coming together, working together –and this group is nothing without its wonderful members and South Plainfield ladies,” she said, adding, “What started as something fun has really grown into something special, at least for me.”
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