March 2023

March Mitzvah-in-a-Minute Supports Covenant House NJ

Helping Homeless and Trafficked Youth at Covenant House NJ

On Thursday, March 16, a group of volunteers from NCJW/Essex, led by the organization’s Anti Human Trafficking Committee, gathered to learn more about homelessness and human trafficking and to assemble care packages for residents of the Covenant House Newark Shelter, where 12% of the young people they serve say they have experienced sex or labor trafficking.  

A Covenant House  representative shared that they are increasingly dealing with human trafficking situations, in addition to their work with homeless youth between the ages of 18 – 21.  Covenant House Newark Shelter provides immediate housing and care for more than 800 youths every year.  Homeless and trafficked youth suffer disproportionately from trauma, sexual and physical abuse, involvement in the foster care system, domestic violence, mental health challenges, and life on the street.  

Generous donations for the MIM included some of the residents’ most-requested items such as blankets, phone chargers, underwear and umbrellas they can keep as their own.  Volunteers also assembled care packages and wrote notes of support and encouragement to be shared with the accompanied by notes of support and encouragement.  Thank you to Anti Human Trafficking Co-Chairs Carol Cohen and Claudia Sandonato and event chair Sue Shusman.

Advocacy in an Hour: More After Abortion Care Kits

Showing Our Support for Abortion Seekers in New Jersey

Snow may have postponed us a week, but it couldn’t stop this team as another successful Advocacy in an Hour assembling After Abortion Care Kits was held on March 7.

The need is great, and our team of volunteers put together 400 (!!!) kits filled with necessities and comfort items – and notes of support – for people seeking abortions in New Jersey.

Representatives of Planned Parenthood shared stories about how our first batch of kits have made a difference with their clients, many of whom travel great distances for their abortions.  Upon receiving a care package, one client was grateful she didn’t have to stop at a drugstore for items following the procedure and, more importantly, was touched by the personal note and the fact that someone cared. 

Thank you to our event chairs Paula Green and Marlene Tuch, our Reproductive Rights Committee Co-Chairs Sharon Falkin and Phoebe Pollinger and everyone who participated or donated items, and to our partners from Planned Parenthood and elsewhere who are on the frontlines every day.   

There’s always more you can do.  Click the button to contact your legislators and make your voice heard on reproductive justice. 


Meet our Members – Danielle Kurlander

Danielle Kurlander

Danielle is from New City, NY and now lives in North Caldwell, NJ.

Favorite food?  Pizza every day! 

A friend in Danielle’s son’s Mom and Me class was hosting a Mitzvah-in-a-Minute at her home to donate and wrap holiday gifts. She said to come and bring my son for a playdate with her daughter. (Win-win!) Danielle brought home a membership folder, and that summer she volunteered at the Back 2 School Store and was hooked!  Danielle has co-chaired Kids Emergency Closet and became more involved on the B2SS committee, co-chairing sneakers and coats.  She is excited to be one of the Co-Chairs of the 15th anniversary Back 2 School Store in 2023.

Favorite Quote:  “Be kind, be grateful, never give up!” And TRY not to sweat the small stuff!

Fun fact: Danielle was a contestant on Double Dare at age 10 – and she won!