Livingston Philanthropies to Continue Coat Drive Through April; Toiletries Needed All Year Round

Jeff “The Coat Guy” Friedman has announced that Livingston Philanthropies will continue its annual Coat Drive through April. “The truth is, coat season lasts through April, especially when out on the streets, or too poor to afford a coat or jacket,” he said. “I invite those reading this week’s article to assess their own timetables regarding when their personal coat season ‘officially’ ends. I’m thinking that most would determine it’s April.”
Once again, Livingston residents have stepped up to support the Livingston Philanthropies “in a major fashion,” he said. “So did volunteering co-coordinator Jennifer Mortensen and her civic-minded students at Jonathan Dayton High School in Springfield. Now in the third year of its collecting partnership with Livingston Philanthropies, Jonathan Dayton has donated hundreds of warm coats and winter accessories. Dr. Gary Hecht, a Livingston resident with chiropractic offices in Springfield, created our original relationship with the high school. Dr. Hecht continues to accept donations at his office on behalf of Livingston Philanthropies, as well.”
The current coat count for this donation season is almost 1,600. Livingston Philanthropies volunteers are requesting an additional 700 warm coats and jackets to exceed last year’s total of almost 2,300. Winter accessories, including scarves, hats and gloves, are also appreciated. “Keep ’em coming, Livingston!” Friedman said. “Your individual donations make the difference for those living below the poverty line.”
There is also an ongoing need for travel-sized toiletries.
“Most of us know all about toiletries. We use them every day without much thought or preparation,” Friedman said. “Our brothers and sisters living just minutes away, many of whom are at their very lowest point, don’t have the resources to possess even the most basic of personal care items to take care of themselves. Personal hygiene requires personal hygiene items, particularly small sizes that can be easily carried on foot.
“Livingston Philanthropies is therefore announcing an urgent and immediate outreach for hotel-sized toiletries and cosmetics, including shampoo, conditioner, soap, cotton swabs, deodorant, lotion, tooth brushes, tooth paste, all dental samples and more. Whatever the item, the much less fortunate need it right now.”
Friedman also reminded residents of the initiative, “Personal Shopping for the Homeless.” February end-of-season sales offer shopping opportunities for those Livingston residents who truly want to make a difference. He asked shoppers to pay “special attention to men’s sizes large, XL and XXL – the bigger the better. Warm socks, underwear, gloves, t-shirts and more are ready to move out the door. “I offer the recent words of a familiar homeless gentleman outside of St. John’s Soup Kitchen, while Livingston volunteers were distributing toiletries gift bags along the long line,” Friedman said. “He told us, ‘Hey, you always come through for us.’ Actually, it’s our Livingston neighbors who always come through. They make it all happen. Thank you all so much!”
Donations of new socks, gloves, gently used and new coats, winter accessories, small-sized toiletries, diapers in sizes 4, 5 and 6, and feminine hygiene pads, may be dropped at the West Essex Tribune, located at 495 South Livingston Avenue, next to ShopRite. Donations may also be left at Ascend Physical Therapy in Montclair; and at the chiropractic offices of Dr. Gary Hecht in Springfield.
Those unable to drop donations at the Livingston Philanthropies’ drop-off points may e-mail Friedman at for private pick-up.

Photo:     Karen Panka of Livingston came into the Tribune office last week with another bag full of hand-knitted scarves for the homeless. Panka knits scarves for the Livingston Philanthropies on a regular basis.

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