SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - Sometimes, “we’re so far into the forest, we can’t see the trees”. This was a quote that one of my high school teachers used frequently, but baffled many of us. The quote became clear to me once out of high school when I became an adult, taking in the world around me. The quote came back into my mind last week when reading an article about a woman from South Plainfield, Shirley Weaver Thompson.
Shirley Weaver Thompson realized that there were a number of elderly residents, who on Christmas Day didn’t have anyone to celebrate with, or more importantly, prepare a hot meal for them, as their daily “meals on wheels” program did not deliver on the holiday. Shirley decided to make the meals herself, not realizing the good deed would have a snowball effect.
This year will be the 11th year that Shirley has cooked and delivered a hot meal to Senior Citizens and families in need on Christmas day, and last year the number was up to 300. But we’re only half way into the forest. Shirley also obtains some children’s names from Social Services and adopts the children out to friends and families, last year giving out over 750 gifts to 85 children. The gifts used to be wrapped, but due to the amount of gifts it was up to, the tape, wrapping paper, and tags are provided, now allowing the parents to share in the Christmas spirit. Delivering everything is now a thing of the past, so parents now pick up the items.
Shirley relies solely on donations from friends, families and local businesses. Twice a year, Mr. Subs in town does a fundraiser and donates a portion of the proceeds from the sales to be used for the purchasing of items needed to cook for the Christmas dinner. There has also been a Yankee Candle online fundraiser. Collection boxes are put in a few public locations where people can drop off new clothing, toys, etc. In a week or so, a list will be put out on what is needed along with sizes for the children’s clothing.
I remember while on the borough council, I made many trips with the Senior Citizen director to deliver meals on wheels to homebound residents. I also remember the tears in my eyes after seeing the look of gratitude and relief upon the senior getting his or her meal.
This past weekend, the SPHS Class of ’71 held their “60th Birthday Celebration”. A class member graciously donated $100 toward Shirley’s project. The class unanimously decided to match the donation, and several other alumni added to the cause. Several others have already made contact to adopt the children for gifts. I’ve said it before and I will say it again…Class of ’71 “Rocks” because that’s how we “Roll”! Any other graduates wishing to help certainly can reach out to me at Ldashuta53@aol.com, and your information and or donation will be forwarded to the right party.
As an Independent Consultant for Scentsy Family, I also am running an online fundraiser for the cause. I am donating my commission for any orders placed on my website through November 30. Scentsy wickless candles may be purchased at https://Ldashuta.Scentsy.us, and Grace Adele, purses and accessories may be purchased at Ldashuta.GraceAdele.us; click on the link at the top of the page to join the Shirley Weaver Thompson Feed the Elderly link. If there are any questions or problems, please contact me.
I’m glad that teacher back in 1971 wrote that quote on the board…it’s a really good feeling to “see the trees”!