Giving Back

Memory of North Plainfield Resident Joshua Helck Lives On Through Family-Run Non-Profit

Joshua Helck Credits: courtesy of the Helck family

(Editor's Note: Heather Hernandez is a senior at North Plainfield High School and an intern for TAPinto North Plainfield.) 

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – In 2007, shortly after Joshua Helck passed away, the North Plainfield resident’s sister Jane and some of her friends wanted to do something to help raise money for cancer research and soon she and her friends began holding clothing fundraisers in his honor.

Through the years, the Helck family expanded the effort, establishing the non-profit Joshua’s Closet run by Helck’s siblings, Jane, Mollie, and Anna along with their mother Sandi. Donated clothing, shoes and other items are gathered throughout the year with 100-percent of profits from fundraisers and sales at different venues benefiting the New Brunswick-based Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in memory of Joshua James Johnson Helck.

Sign Up for E-News

“What started as really a small gesture by Jane has grown into something family, friends and the community have been so supportive of,” said Sandi. “Through Joshua’s Closet we are able to not only keep Josh’s memory alive but also play a small role in helping to support cancer resource. And I am very grateful for that.”

Joshua’s Closet accepts men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing in all sizes and for all seasons, including socks, undergarments and bathing suits. The organization also accepts shoes, gloves and scarfs, as well as bags of any type, including purses, backpacks, clutches, messenger bags, suitcases, etc. Additionally, donations of linens, towels, pillows, blankets, and sleeping bags along with like-new stuffed animals, toys and jewelry are also accepted.

From March through December, Joshua’s Closet accepts donations and runs a thrift shop at Watchung Avenue Presbyterian Church on Tuesdays from 2 to 5 p.m. During the other months, donation appointments are accepted. Sandi also participates in the Holy Cross Christmas Bazaar, the annual Friends of Vermeule yard sale and plans are under way to hold a large shoe sale fundraiser next month. In addition, during baseball season, Somerset Patriot game tickets can be purchased through Joshua’s Closet, with a percentage of the $10 ticket cost benefiting the North Plainfield non-profit.

Joshua Helck was diagnosed with leukemia in April 2007 and passed away just four months later at the age of 30. He was a member of North Plainfield High School’s (NPHS) Class of 1995. As a student, Joshua was a founding member of the school’s Hope Club, an organization dedicated to how life happens due to environmental science. Additionally, during his summers Joshua volunteered his time for the school district, helping in the various computer labs.

In addition to establishing a non-profit in Joshua’s memory, the Helck family in 2008 planted a pine tree in his honor in front of North Plainfield High School. Every Feb 3 - Joshua’s birthday - the Helck family and friends join together and tie ribbons around the tree as well as leaves notes and mementos in his memory.

“He would have been 40-years-old this year and it’s hard to imagine he is gone for 10 years now,” Sandi Helck said.

Donations for Joshua’s Closet can be made by appointment by contacting Sandi Helck at (908) 756-8356. Additionally, items can be dropped off at Watchung Avenue Presbyterian Church, 170 Watchung Avenue in North Plainfield, on Tuesdays from 2 to 5 p.m., beginning March 7. Updated hours of operation, as they become available, will also be posted on the ‘Joshua’s Closet’ Facebook page ( For additional information, email

TAPinto Plainfield is free and published daily; sign up to get all the news as it happens at and follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter @PlainfieldTAP.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events

Sat, March 17, 5:30 PM

St. Francis Episcopal Church, Dunellen

St. Patrick's Day Annual Dinner

Food & Drink

Sun, March 18, 2:00 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

Maple Sugar Sunday


Sun, March 18, 3:00 PM

Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, Plainfield

Crescent Concerts Presents Annual Festival of ...

Arts & Entertainment

Rep. Watson Coleman Urges Support for Students Participating in Protests: Letter to Local School Officials Asks for Encouragement Rather Than Punishment

March 16, 2018

EWING, NJ – Today, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) sent letters to principals and other school administrators in New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District urging support and encouragement for students who engage in protests and demonstrations for gun violence prevention amid reports that some New Jersey schools had suspended or otherwise punished students for their ...

Statement from Linden 9th Ward Councilman Armando Medina Regarding June 2017 Democratic Primary

March 12, 2018

This June I will seek the Democratic nomination for 9th Ward Council in the City of Linden. It has been my privilege to represent the 9th Ward since 2013. 

The residents of the 9th Ward expect independent leadership that above all puts the taxpayer first. A few weeks ago, I announced I would run as part of a team headed by Mayor Armstead. Since then, I have heard from many residents and ...

Bayonne Police: Second Teen Arrested for Recent School Threats

March 14, 2018

BAYONNE, NJ - A second teen was charged for last week's social media school shooting threats.

According to Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis, police arrested a local 13-year-old for false public alarm and making terroristic threats after detectives determined the student was responsible for a SnapChat involving a Bayonne private school.

Davis said police determined the teen made a ...

Celebrando el Mes de la Historia de la Mujer

March 16, 2018

PLAINFIELD, NJ - Estimados Plainfield,

Yo fui criado por dos mujeres poderosas e generosas, y me pasaron principios y valores que me han guiado durante mi vida entera. Mi mama persiguió la oportunidad y busco una manera de proveer para su familia. Ella dejo la isla de Barbados para poder trabajar en los hogares de los Estados Unidos, creando e allanando un camino para que sus hijos lo ...

Innovador Plainfield

Estimados Plainfield,


El crecimiento requiere evolución, la evolución implica cambio, y el cambio conduce a la innovación. Plainfield está evolucionando. Nos estamos adaptando para cumplir con los requisitos del renacimiento que está formando el futuro. No podemos esperar cambio positivo y sostenible si continuamos con el mismo ritmo de las ...

Distrito escolar de Plainfield anuncia ganadores de Feria de las Ciencias

PLAINFIELD, NJ - La Oficina de Tecnología, Ciencias e Instrucción de las Escuelas Públicas de Plainfield anunció a los ganadores de la Feria de Ciencias 2018, en una recepción celebrada el jueves 1 de marzo de 2018 en la Escuela Primaria Clinton.

Veintiocho de los 178 estudiantes en grados 4-12 recibieron los máximos honores después de presentar ...

Rapps Pharmacy: What You Need To Know About The Flu

There seems to be no end in sight for the current flu season which has touched every part of the country, and right here in New Jersey.  Rapps Pharmacy, an independent, full service, and locally owned Plainfield neighborhood pharmacy, offers these tips:  

As influenza virus activity increases and is likely to continue circulating for upcoming weeks, the Centers for Disease Control ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)


In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...

Ian Hockley Visits New Jersey to Introduce Program to Empower Youth

This week I am taking a departure from book reviewing to share an important program that has been introduced to New Jersey this week by Mr. Ian Hockley, founder of the Dylan's Wings of Change Foundation. On December 14, 2012, Hockley's five year old son, an autistic child named Dylan, was gunned down in his classroom in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Dylan, a shy and adorable ...

Lilli DeJong by Janet Benton

Lilli De Jong by Janet Benton (Doubleday, 2017)


“It's said that every woman's painful labor is God's punishment. Eve ate an apple, and God pours wrath on every mother. So the Bible tells it.” (p.320)

The story of Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden, which is the Biblical explanation for the extreme pains of childbirth, casts women in the role of ...

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb (Altria, 2015)


Years later, after the tragedy, someone remembered the Dumb Supper and what had happened there. That was the cause of it, they said, because the ritual wasn't a game after all. It really was magic, but magic has rules, and she broke them. Even when they call it a 'senseless tragedy,' people always try to find a ...

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper with Danny Pellegrino (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

It's hard to go on a serious diet, one on which you expect to be successful and maintain a loss. Fortunately, in his new book Super Carb Diet, Bob Harper has given the weight watching world a sensible new diet plan to help achieve a healthy weight.

Harper, host of NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser, ...

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs (Bantom,2017)

How does a writer of a beloved series like Harry Potter or Temperance Brennan break out of their readers' expectations and try something new? For J.K. Rowlings it was the novels penned under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith; books about a maimed and very flawed private detective with the unlikely name of Cormoran Strike. For Kathy Reichs, it is the ...