December 2022

Days of Light and Hope

Thank you to our partners, our volunteers, employees, executive committee and entire Board for shining so brightly in 2022, and for bringing hope into the new year.  We shared these messages from partners and volunteers during the 8 days and nights of Hanukkah across NCJW/Essex social media sites. Now, here they are together, in their own words… 

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Mitzvah-in-a-Minute Holiday Toy Drive and Gift Wrap

It's a Wrap on 2022 Mitzvahs-in-a-Minute

Our annual Mitzvah-in-a-Minute dedicated to wrapping hundreds of gifts for kids at local community organizations took place on Wednesday, Dec. 14.  Nearly 40 volunteers gathered at our office to wrap and ready more than 350 gifts for kids at the FOCUS Hispanic Center for Community Development, Inc. and children of our own Center for Women clients.

We were also excited to fill gently-used pocketbooks donated by the Brighton store at the Mall at Short Hills with gifts, including hats, scarves, and personal care products from L’Occitane, to deliver holiday cheer for our CFW clients.

Led by Co-Chairs Dorie Eisenstein and Rachel Fink, plus Mitzvah-in-a-Minute Volunteer Coordinator Stacey Laken and VP of Volunteer Outreach Andrea Mintz, wrapping paper was cut, ribbons were curled, and holiday cheer was abundant!

Our long-time partners at the Coldwell Banker Livingston office and LTownCares, a community volunteer base where people can come together to show acts of kindness and compassion by providing monetary funds and/or item necessities to those who are less fortunate, collected toys from the community.  And, once again our friends at Nukk-Freeman & Cerra PC contributed to our Mitzvah-in-a-Minute.

Thanks to everyone who was part of our final Mitzvah-in-a-Minute in 2022.   See you in 2023 for more great opportunities to give back!

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November at NCJW/Essex

Voting, Caring & Giving Back

November marked another busy month for NCJW/Essex and its volunteers.   We Got Out the Vote, provided care and comfort for abortion seekers in New Jersey and jumped right into the season of giving.

Get Out the Vote

Election Day was November 8, and when the votes were counted, one Senate race headed to a runoff.   We quickly gathered for a Power Hour of writing nonpartisan postcards and letters to voters in Georgia ahead of the Senate runoff scheduled for Dec. 6, 2022.  

Our Get Out the Vote efforts this year concluded with NCJW/Essex writing more than 4,000 postcards and letters this election season. Thanks to co-chairs Jordana Horn Gordon and Elisa Madorsky and all the volunteers who came to our events – rain or shine! – or took packets to complete at home.   Let’s All Vote, we did! 

After Abortion Care Kits

Our focus on abortion rights and abortion care never stops, and at a time when states across the country race to push reproductive health care out of reach, we can always do more.  Members generously donated the items for the kits during our “product raiser” in October, and on Nov. 15, about 30 volunteers met to pack the After Abortion Care Kits which will be given to abortion providers around the state to share with their clients.   We were excited to be joined by Leslie McNamara and Larisa Mendez Downes, representing Planned Parenthood in New Jersey who shared stories of the important and heroic work being done by their organization.   

Reproductive Rights Co-Chair Phoebe Pollinger once again gave an overview of our advocacy work in this area, and Sharon Falkin, Paula Green and Marlene Tuch led our volunteers as they packed hundreds of kits filled with pads, socks, teas and other comfort items.  The product raiser was so successful, we are going to repeat it in early 2023.  Look for more information soon.

Mitzvah-in-a-Minute: Fall Food Drive

And, just like that, the holiday season has arrived.   Thanksgiving week kicked off with a Mitzvah-in-a-Minute Food Drive, supporting both CFW clients and Christine’s Kitchen in West Orange. During this season of holiday gatherings, with food insecurity and persistent high prices at the grocery store, we were so pleased to once again get folks started with many of the ingredients for a festive meal.

We are so grateful to new friends from Nukk-Freeman & Cerra who came out in force to assemble the bags and to Horizon Therapeutics, who stopped by with a basket full of ShopRite gift cards that enable our clients to shop for family favorites and fresh food with dignity. Thank you to MIM Coordinator Stacey Laken and event chair Janet Berger for their work.

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