Winter Temperatures Are Back: LPI Director Requests: “Keep Coats Coming!”

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Editor’s Note: This week, Jeff Friedman, founder and director of Livingston Philanthropies, Inc. (LPI), in his own words, thanks those who have donated coats to LPI’s annual coat drive, and encourages other residents to “dig deep” and donate coats and winter items they are no longer using.
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By Jeff Friedman
Last weekend’s balmy temperatures were a nice break from the cold for most of us, particularly those living out on the streets or below the poverty line without a source of heat. The freezing temperatures are back in a big way, dipping into the 20s at night. It’s a weather change that’s exciting for those who enjoy brisk winter temperatures, but unfortunate for the homeless, who are shivering, just minutes away from our warm homes in Livingston.
So many generous Livingston residents have donated multiple times, and I thank them. Livingston Philanthropies, Inc. (LPI) has delivered more than 1,400 coats and jackets this season, some 4,200 pounds of warmth, to the homeless and profoundly poor. In addition, many hundreds of pounds of winter accessories, toiletries, cosmetics, shoes and family clothing travelled east. Livingston’s giving could have gone west, too, where similar issues of poverty are encountered.
Now is the time to dig deep in closets, garages, attics and other storage areas for unused and unneeded coats, gloves, hats and scarves. It doesn’t take long to search, and perhaps some neighbors will be lucky to find an item they misplaced years ago. You never know. Please drop donations at the office of LPI’s partner, Livingston’s West Essex Tribune, located at 495 South Livingston Avenue, next to ShopRite. Or, Tribune readers can send me an email at njhomeless@aol.com to make other arrangements.
Digging deep can also mean using one’s fingers on the keyboard or feet in a regular, old-fashioned store. Sales are rampant, meaning that winter items like coats, jackets and accessories are priced to move quickly. For those who have the means to do so, kind shoppers can easily feel the joy and pleasure experienced when “personal shopping for the homeless.” As mentioned in past weeks, it’s fun, too. Please, “if you see something, buy something.”
To offer another option, LPI volunteers stand ready to do the personal shopping for busy Livingston residents. If folks choose to make a monetary donation, our eager philanthropic advocates know how to stretch contributed dollars to the max. Coats, hats, gloves, warm socks and underwear have been purchased with previous contributions. Helping those in profound need can be handled directly on Paypal at paypal.me/lpinj or by mail to LPI, PO Box 247, Livingston, NJ 07039. For consideration, I submit that “giving season” should extend past the end of the holidays. Livingston Philanthropies, Inc. is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. Generous contributions are 100% tax deductible.
I’d like to close by quoting the great Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday we are marking this coming week. He said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ ”

Photo:     LPI director Jeff “The Coat Guy” Friedman delivers 35 large bags of coats and family clothing to the “Ladies of the Boutique” at Willing Heart Community Care Center’s Clothing Boutique in Newark. The boutique offers no-cost family shopping to those who are out on the street or living below the poverty line. Shown here with Friedman, top, are Boutique Ladies Carla McCain, Rosario Perez, Zena Simmons, Barbara Adams, and Ruby Small, and Willing Heart staff member Slim.

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