Livingston Philanthropies Volunteers Busy Delivering Donated Coats and Toiletries

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Livingston Philanthropies, Inc. (LPI) is keeping busy delivering coats and toiletries to the homeless. “Right now, it’s all about coats and winter accessories,” said Jeff Friedman, founder and director of the Livingston-based charity. “Evening temperatures continue to dip into the 20s in Newark and around the state. For those living on the freezing streets or somewhere else with little or no heat, coats are vital even when temperatures reach highs into the 50s. The 20s are just plain punishing.”
Friedman, who is known affectionately as “the Coat Guy,” began his charitable endeavors eight years ago as seasonal coat drive. He later expanded his efforts into a year ‘round toiletries collection, and eventually formed a 501(c)3 charitable organization.
“Please drop much-needed donations during business hours to LPI’s partner, the West Essex Tribune, located on South Livingston Avenue next to ShopRite. We’re collecting coats, jackets, hats, gloves, and scarves. We continue to request toiletries, cosmetics, diapers, women’s products, family clothing and more to provide for the homeless and profoundly poor.”
Friedman also announced that Haven Savings Bank’s president and chief executive officer, John Wessling, III, and Livingston branch manager Margaret Leary-Gephardt, recently presented LPI with a generous contribution for its vehicle fund. “Thanks to Haven, John and Margaret for their community-minded spirit,” the Coat Guy said.
LPI volunteers, including long-time Livingston resident Alan Wishengrad, made major deliveries of coats and family clothing to two Newark distribution partners, the Bessie Green Community and the Willing Heart Community Care Center. Both agencies provide food and clothing for Newark’s poorest residents.
LPI volunteers also delivered men’s dress attire to Newark Emergency Services for Families (NESF) for its welfare-to-work program. NESF, among a diversity of client programs, provides job counseling from all perspectives, including how to dress for interviews and work. “As always, Livingston’s gently worn donations of suits, slacks, shirts and neckties are of the finest quality,” Friedman said.
The Apostles’ House, also in Newark, received two huge bags of hand-knit winter items created by the National Council of Jewish Women, Essex County Section’s knitting group. Apostles’ provides shelter and food for women with children who are homeless and/or coming from unfortunate circumstances. LPI volunteers distributed toiletries and cosmetics gift bags, created by Karen Friedman, at Penn Station, the Bessie Green Community, and Saint John’s Soup Kitchen food line and women’s center.
“I’m looking forward to sharing LPI’s new photo and video presentation with the Livingston Kiwanis Club at their meeting at the Hanover Manor in East Hanover on Wednesday, December 11, at 6:30 p.m.,” said the Coat Guy.
Friedman continued, “Why not help those who own nothing with a kind donation now? LPI’s ‘Personal Shopping for the Homeless’ initiative continues. Our motto is ‘If you see something, buy something.’ We encourage our Livingston neighbors to take advantage of huge sales available online or in stores to help those in need.”

In that vein, Friedman concluded by quoting 2010 Olympic Gold Medal-winning snowboarder Hannah Teter, who said, “I think people forget that it doesn’t take a big donation to help someone, just a lot of little donations.”
Photo: Haven Savings Bank president and CEO John Wessling, III and Livingston branch manager Margaret Leary-Gephardt recently presented Livingston Philanthropies, Inc. (LPI) founder and director Jeff Friedman with a generous contribution to support LPI’s Vehicle Fundraising Initiative.
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