“Keeping It Local:” Liv. Philanthropies’ Fundraising Going Strong

Editor’s Note: This week, in his own words, Jeff “the Coat Guy” Friedman, founder and director of the Livingston  Philanthropies Inc., describes how the organization’s fundraising initiative has started strongly, and how he hopes it will enable the organization to acquire a much-needed truck or minivan for deliveries.
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By Jeff Friedman
Finally, Livingston’s local philanthropic organization, Livingston Philanthropies, Inc. is an official 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. That’s why we can finally request donations from those who want to assist in “providing for the poor, homeless, and disenfranchised.” And that’s why our recently announced fundraising initiative is moving forward in full gear.
Just beginning our eighth year of operation here in town, LPI does not own a vehicle.  Fortunately, each year, we’ve had two or three volunteers willing to step up with their SUVs or trucks. I don’t own one. A large SUV or perhaps a minivan is key to continuing and growing LPI’s core mission of helping those who are living below the poverty line, or worse, out on the streets. Additionally, LPI would also like to be in a financial position to supplement Livingston’s kindly donated coats and family clothing with new purchases.
It’s individual contributions, in any amount, that are the backbone to any fundraising initiative. I urge our ever-generous Livingston neighbors to keep a portion of their charitable donations right here in town. Perhaps the huge number who have stepped up with physical donations will consider taking their support to the next step; a very important next step.  Our mailing address is Livingston Philanthropies, Inc., P.O. Box 247, Livingston, NJ  07039.  Your generous donations are tax-deductible.  
Warm coats and winter accessories are always welcome, as are hotel-size toiletries urgently needed by the homeless. The homeless must attend to personal hygiene “on the go.” Perhaps a chance to wash or shower presents itself, or they know of a spot where running water is sometimes available for a quick tooth-brushing. Travel-sized toiletries are easy to keep with them for use when the opportunity arises. These items, sadly, can be like gold out on the streets.
New cosmetics and cosmetic samples are loved and enjoyed by those who don’t have financial access to such products. Livingston residents have stepped up with many hundreds of new, quality cosmetic items, fine brands just sitting in drawers or on dressing tables for months and even years. Nail polish, lipstick, lotion, perfume, powder, scents, gift sets and many other items are warmly received by those living below the poverty line. These are the same items we take for granted in our everyday lives and use without thought.
Please drop donations at the offices of the West Essex Tribune, located at 495 South Livingston Avenue (next to Livingston ShopRite). Or email me at jftv1@verizon.net to arrange private pick-up.
One can never err closing with the sage words of Walt Whitman, who said, “Charity and personal force are the only investments worth anything.”


    Livingston Philanthropies, Inc. (LPI) volunteer Neil Greco, left, visited Bessie Green Community’s Clothing Barn in Newark while make a major delivery to “provide for the poor, homeless, and disenfranchised.” He is shown here with Monique Kelly, clothing and kitchen manager; Barbara Van Hassell, executive director; and Aaron Barnes, a kitchen worker who serves the homeless.


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