Meet the Neighbors

Meet Jane Hoffman


Name: Jane Hoffman

Years in Westfield: She’s a lifer!


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Christian Hoffman

Avery, 9

Claire, 8

Blythe, 7

Foster kids in New Jersey couldn’t dream of a better advocate than Westfield’s own Jane Hoffman, founder of A Birthday Wish. The big-hearted wife and mother of three ultimately left a career in finance to start the nonprofit, which makes wishes come true for neglected or abused children who have been removed from their homes, after a serendipitous stroll through the annual Westfield FestiFall.

“I was at the street fair and met Joanne Bennett at the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Union County table,” Jane said. “We started discussing ways that my daughters and I could support children in foster care. I asked about birthdays and Joanne explained that birthdays can be difficult emotionally for children and teens in foster care and that many don't even receive a gift.”

In that moment, Jane committed to granting the birthday wishes of all the children under their care, which at that time was about 180 kids per year. Members of The Tuesday Club of Westfield jumped right in and were instrumental in making the first year a huge success. Today Birthday Wishes grants well over 1,000 wishes a year. There is no dollar limit on wishes and every single child who makes a wish receives their special wish! We think no one holds a candle to this giving Super Mama!

Editor’s Note: The 28th annual FestiFall is THIS Sunday, Spet. 24, from 10am to 5pm. Come by rain or shine! Maybe you’ll find your calling.

EDITOR’S NOTE: On Friday, Oct. 13, at 8 p.m., A Birthday Wish will celebrate three years of granting special wishes for children in New Jersey foster care. The third annual Wonder of Wishes event, which sold out last year, will be held at the new Stage House Tavern in Mountainside, NJ. It’s a new, larger venue for this fun night out and it promises to be one of the highlights of the fall season. The Benjamins will be preforming this year, bringing their high-energy set list packed with current songs and old favorites. General admission tickets ($35) and sponsorships are available at

Jane says: “Everyone needs to know that their life matters and that they are special,” Jane said. “We celebrate the birthdays of children in New Jersey foster care who have experienced severe neglect, extreme abuse or have lost a parent to death or incarceration. These kids, teens and young adults have so much potential, I want them to know that people in the community care about them.”

Jane’s Westfield Best List:

1. THE PEOPLE. The friends we have made living in town are some of the greatest people I know.

2. NIGHT RUNS. I love going for a jog in the evening. I run the exact same route I ran in high school through Mindowaskin Park and Wychwood!

3. THE MEMORIAL DAY PARADE. Our daughters march with their Girl Scout troops every year. I still remember standing with my grandparents on the lawn outside the town hall at the start of every summer.

4. DOWNTOWN SHOPPING. I love to spend an hour or two in the shops downtown. The French Martini is a great place to buy gifts for friends and family or treat yourself to something unique and special. Learning Express is my go-to store for all birthday party presents; they always have something new to check out.

5. MINDOWASKIN PARK. It’s my favorite park for a bike ride or a walk. We are so lucky to have this beautiful green space right in the middle of our town.

We want to meet your neighbor next! Nominate a local Westfield resident on our Facebook page @bestfieldnj.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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