Giving Back

Westfield Family Continues ‘Summer of Kindness’ with Infant Clothing Drive

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Sara Liptack and her daughter, Lyra, with purses and supplies that people donated to their Purse Project drive to help homeless women.
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Sara Liptack and her daughter, Lyra, drop off supplies at the Apostle's House in Newark.
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WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield mom and teacher Sara Liptack is continuing her family’s “Summer of Kindess” with an infant clothing for Furniture Assist, an organization in Springfield that helps formerly homeless people, veterans, the elderly, fire victims, refugees and people fleeing domestic violence.

“I said, ‘What’s the one thing you really need?’” said Liptack. And though they accept a wide variety of household items, clothing for newborns to 1-year-old babies is something Furniture Assist never has enough of, she said. “It just flies out their doors.”

You can drop off donations of clothing at their door at 710 East Broad St. now through July 19. (The family also has a Little Free Library book exchange out front.)

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Liptack said that she and her almost 4-year-old daughter, Lyra, are engaging in an act of kindness every day this summer, from little projects like picking up trash at the beach to more ambitious ones, such as this collection.

On Monday, they visited the Apostle's House in Newark to drop off 80 purses and enough personal care items to fill them from their first drive of the summer, which Liptack named “the Purse Project.”

“From the bottom on my hearts, thank you Westfield,” Liptack wrote on her Little Free Library’s Facebook page. “Our community's spirit of giving is inspiring. When we first got the idea for the Purse Project, we never anticipated what an overwhelming success it would be. What started as a plan to hand deliver a couple purses directly to homeless women turned into something way larger than expected. We hope that your participation helped start (or continue) conversations at home about why drives like this are important. It definitely did in our home.”

Though most of the supplies were donated by local people, even a Little Free Library in Missouri chipped in, sending about 100 lip balms to Liptack’s house, she said.

Dropping off the supplies at the shelter for families was a “really cool experience,” Liptack said. “They were really appreciative.” She plans to take Lyra into New York City soon to hand five remaining purses, which will be filled with toiletries, to women in need directly.

A lot of people donated makeup samples, and Liptack said that they’ll bring those to Bridges Outreach in Summit.

Liptack was surprised how much people donated to the Purse Project.

“I saw so many kids walking up and putting stuff in the bin,” she said. “I hope that the process of picking up a few extra things at the grocery store started conversations in their homes, too.”

Liptack is looking for more ideas, and local organizations can email her at littlefreelibrary07090@gmail.com to request drives for specific supplies.

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