Livingston Philanthropies Director Reflects: The Different Lines of the COVID-19 Pandemic

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By Jeff Friedman
Editor’s Note: Jeff Friedman, founder and director of Livingston Philanthropies, Inc. (LPI), here, in his own words, writes about food lines, and what LPI is doing to help.
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The lives of our most vulnerable populations, the homeless and profoundly poor, has always been about lines. Lines for free clothing, lines to get benefits, lines to see a health care professional (if they can actually make it happen), and lines for food. Lines, lines, and more lines. These lines are even longer and more difficult as the pandemic’s havoc is being played out in New Jersey’s cities like Newark, the main homeless population served by Livingston Philanthropies, Inc. (LPI).
Now, along with other unprecedented societal changes swiftly caused by the pandemic, lines have come to the suburbs. In some cases, long lines. Lines are not fun at all, even during normal times. Just ask the homeless. Now, we can ask the average Livingston resident, too. Lines at ShopRite, lines at Costco, and lines for take-out meals.
It’s salient to mention the big difference between the respective lines of the “haves” and the “have-nots.” Although we recognize that this is not true for everyone in town, many of our Livingston neighbors have the money to buy whatever they want at the end of their lines. Those living in extreme poverty score what they can at the end of their lines, sometimes after waiting for hours. Then, for those who are physically mobile, it’s on to the next food pantry to wait on line, yet again, in the hope of receiving additional sustenance, toiletries, diapers and more.
That’s where Livingston residents continue to make a difference. Through generous donations to LPI’s “Shipping to the Homeless” initiative, our volunteers have been funding cases of basic food items and bottled water for shipment to trusted distribution associates and food pantries.
In a similar fashion to how we handled coats, winter accessories and other “products,” which were delivered downtown within a few days of donation, LPI buys wholesale bread, bottled waters and other items for shipping to those beyond less fortunate immediately upon receiving monetary contributions.
It’s money-in/money-out during these challenging times. This means that LPI’s account balance, after purchasing online, is usually $500 or less at any given time. That’s fine with me, because Livingston’s donations are being quickly converted to helping communities not in a position to help themselves.
I’m pleased to report that three Newark distribution partners were serviced with deliveries this week, including the Apostles’ House, the Bessie Green Community, and Newark Emergency Services for Families (NESF). Every penny spent on these vital, life-sustaining items was supplied by Livingston’s generosity. Bravo, Livingston!
Those who are in a position to help, contributions can be made by mail to LPI, PO Box 247, Livingston, NJ 07039, on PayPal at paypal.me/lpinj or by credit card by visiting our website. and clicking on “Donate” at njhomeless.org. You can also send me an email at njhomeless@aol.com to discuss partnership opportunities.
In closing, I’d like to quote Moliere, a French playwright, actor and poet who lived in the 1600s; “Every good act is charity. A man’s true wealth hereafter is the good that he does in this world to his fellows.”

Photo:

The homeless and profoundly poor line up to receive food pantry items outside a Livingston Philanthropies Inc. (LPI) distribution associate, the Bessie Green Community in Newark. Now, lines have come to Livingston and many other suburban New Jersey townships.

 

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