SOUTH ORANGE AND MAPLEWOOD, NJ - With hundreds from South Orange and Maplewood planning to head to Washington, DC, for the Women's March on Washington, on Saturday, Jan. 21, organizing was a true community effort.

Many of the march participants will be traveling by chartered buses, with much of the planning for these buses taking place in Facebook groups, where contributions ranged from coordinating the buses, volunteering as bus captains, to helping as marshals at departure, assisting people in finding their buses. 

Other SOMA community members arranged for the South Orange Dunkin Donuts to open at 4 a.m. instead of it's usual 5 a.m. and for Maplewood's Bite restaurant to provide boxed lunches to march participants that could be pre-paid for and then picked-up on Saturday morning.

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Maplewood and South Orange both waived enforcement of overnight parking rules, and South Orange has provided additional parking options for march attendees.

Longtime Maplewood resident Liz Demkin, owner of the printing company United Forms Finishing (UFF) Corp. in Hillside, printed more than 600 signs free of charge for those attending the Women's March on Washington or one of the other "sister" marches.

Bernadette Aulestia created a Stronger Together design for all to use, and also was one of the volunteers who helped organize march logistics. Aulestia explained that many were involved in coordinating the march effort, from efforts like Demkin's printing, to those helping with childcare and carpools to the bus departure locations.

Aulestia highlighted some of the many who helped in the effort: "Hildy Karp was the organizer of all 20 Skeddadle buses, and there are 10 additional buses organized by other local women. We have tons of volunteers tomorrow to marshal over 1,000 people onto buses."

"Hildy pulled together a Herculean task with the buses and working with the executive committee, and deserves a huge thank you for her efforts," said Aulestia.

"It has been a labor of love," Aulestia continued. "Women have knit hats, made shirts and scarves. Sheena Collum and Mayor DeLuca have been amazing supporting us with lifting parking restrictions in both towns and the police will be there to assist in the South Orange train lot at 4 a.m."

On Friday, Palmer's Sweetery & Cafe in Maplewood had French macaroons in the shape of "pussy hats," which they shared on Facebook and Instagram with the caption "proud and ready."

On Saturday, St. James's Gate in Maplewood will be showing Women's March on Washington television coverage, beginning when they open at 11 a.m., according to the owner, John J. Meade, Jr.

Participating in one of the Women's Marches? Please send comments and photos to Anna Sandler at asandler@tapinto.net.