Livingston Rallies for LPI: Donations & Support Coming from All Directions

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This week, Jeff “the Coat Guy” Friedman, founder and director of Livingston Philanthropies, Inc. (LPI), in his own words updates residents on the Livingston-based charity, which works to “provide for the poor, homeless and disenfranchised.” The organization holds a seasonal coat drive and a year ’round toiletries collection for the homeless.
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By Jeff Friedman
With so many things happening now, I think it’s important for residents to know about the people of Livingston who have stepped forward to support LPI. I especially want to thank our stalwart volunteers for continuing to make another season of philanthropy happen right here in town.
Chair Donation
Dan Koo, general manager at Nero’s Grille in Livingston, recently contacted me with a fascinating question. “Any use for chairs?” he asked. “We are in the midst of changing all of our dining room chairs, and will have old ones that we can donate.” LPI volunteer Neil Greco immediately stepped up, putting both his pick-up truck and his strong work ethic to use. Long-time LPI distribution partners United Missionary Baptist Church in East Orange and Bessie Green Community Soup Kitchen in Newark, each with community-focused philanthropic missions, welcomed Nero’s kind donation.
Thanks to Neil Greco
I’m sending a special shout-out to Neil, who is a multi-year LPI volunteer. While needed at his busy Allstate Insurance agency here in Livingston, Neil breaks away with his pick-up truck whenever requested to make vital deliveries to our distribution partners. Neil has been instrumental in moving the thousands of pounds of items we deal with every year. He handles it all with enthusiasm and a smile on his face. Bravo!
Trish Duffy Toiletries Challenge
The recent naming of LPI’s toiletries drive to honor our late friend, Trish Duffy, has resulted in a major upsurge of hotel-sized toiletries and new cosmetics received at LPI. The Trish Duffy Toiletries and Cosmetics Challenge has already stocked hundreds of festive gift bags to provide for the homeless. Right now, folks who are beyond “less fortunate” are brushing their teeth, applying lotion or washing their hair with items donated by Livingston residents and thereby honoring our friend Trish, who recently passed. Please continue to drop what you have at the offices of LPI’s partner, the West Essex Tribune, located at 495 South Livingston Avenue, next to ShopRite.
Vintage Fur Sale
LPI’s recent Vintage Fur Sale was a huge success. While nice garments continue to be available at prices ranging between $30 to $75 based on condition, some 16 furs were sold. That revenue was deposited in the LPI account to continue saving for a vehicle and to purchase much-needed items for the homeless. Please email me to see the furs or for private pick-up at
As Livingston Philanthropies is saving for a much-needed dedicated LPI vehicle (we’ve handled eight seasons with volunteers’ cars and SUVs), we continue to maintain a frugal financial posture while purchasing basic items so badly needed by folks who find themselves out on the street. For example, LPI just ordered several hundred pairs of nice quality men’s socks and underwear. Sadly, these items are like gold to the profoundly poor. LPI’s “Personal Shopping for the Homeless” initiative continues to be a favorite among Livingston residents. Whether it’s men’s socks, underwear, clothing, or any number of items, they are needed right now. I invite our philanthropic friends to continue purchasing sale items online or at local stores. Most of us are in position to help our non-fortunate brothers and sisters right now, so remember, please, “If You See Something, Buy Something.”
Elks’ Lodge Donation
Very special thanks to the Livingston Elks’ Lodge for its generous – and unexpected – donation. After eight seasons of operation, it seems that we are finally on our way to purchasing a vehicle!
For those individuals, families and organizations who would like to keep a portion of their annual tax-deductible contributions right here in town, monetary donations can be handled directly on Paypal at or by check mailed to Livingston Philanthropies, Inc., P.O. Box 247, Livingston, NJ 07039. It’s all about those of us who “have” spreading a little around to those who “don’t have.”
I’d like to end with this quote from artis Pablo Picasso: “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”

Photo:     LPI volunteer Neil Greco recently headed over to Nero’s Grille in Livingston to pick up a load of donated chairs, which will go to two of the charity’s distribution partners. Greco is shown here with the chairs onto his truck.

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