If you are looking for a way to volunteer or otherwise give back to our community, healthcare workers and others, this is the place for you. Below is a list of organizations and activities working hard to support those in need as well as local businesses and frontline workers.
It does not have to be complicated or costly.
Call and offer support to someone who is elderly, suffers from chronic illness, lives alone, is immuno-compromised, has a job that is in jeopardy, has young children at home, or just might appreciate a friendly hello. Don’t know anyone personally who fits these categories, but still want to help? Email Rabbi Klein to be connected to TSTI members who might appreciate some outreach.
Shop local by ordering take-out or delivery from a favorite restaurant or sending a book or some flowers to someone you love (maybe to yourself!) from a local shop! Before you place that online order or head to a big box store, pause and consider if you might be able to get what you need from a local small business. Many local stores are owned by members of TSTI and need our support. Check these links to find out what’s open in South Orange, and Maplewood, and let us know if you know of similar links for neighboring towns!
Below are more ways to help. Please help us keep this list current, by letting us know about other intiatives people can look into.
Interfaith Food Pantry of the Oranges
The Interfaith Food Pantry of the Oranges (IFPO) continues to work tirelessly to help our neighbors. Although our usual physical space remains closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, through the generous support of HANDS Inc., the IFPO is opening up a temporary satellite hub in Orange to be able to receive and pack food, produce and diapers. We are working closely with the Community FoodBank of NJ to bring thousands of pounds of perishable and non-perishable food to the Cities of East Orange and Orange for direct distribution to residents. We are serving our current clients and those now newly in need with the support of volunteers who are making contact-less, curbside deliveries of food, fresh produce, diapers and Diabetes boxes.
The IFPO is looking for volunteers to help with a variety of tasks — including hosting a food drive. If you are interested, please sign up here.
Seeking Cloth Masks for Neighbors: The IFPO is distributing cloth masks to hundred of neighbors living Orange & East Orange. If you are sewing masks and interesting in donated them to our neighbors, please email Karyn Leit.
The Isaiah House Homeless Shelter and Food Pantry'smission is to reduce the homelessness, hunger and unemployment throughout Essex County and more specifically, within the Oranges and Newark. Isaiah House is the only homeless shelter in East Orange and provides temporary and permanent lodging, food, social and financial services, as well as comfort and hope for families and individuals every year. They are in need of both financial support and donations of specific items in order to continue their important work throughout the duration of this crisis.
Our Lady of Sorrows Food Pantry is very low on supplies, and requests donations. In a recent Facebook post, a representative said, “[w]e take food donations in the front vestibule of the church at 217 Prospect St, SO. Hours: Mon-Sat 7-4; Sun 8-12… Monetary donations can be mailed to the OLS Parish Office at 217 Prospect St, SO 07079.” You can also donate online. Our Lady of Sorrows Food Pantry is open 2nd and 4th Saturdays from 8-11am, including this Saturday.
Stay in touch with isolated Senior Adults. Have some time and feel like lifting the spirits of an isolated senior adult? Village Apartments of the Federation on Vose Avenue in South Orange will take email notes to be distributed to residents. Please send your letters and notes in a word or pdf attachment to Tracy Horwitz so we can send them in bulk.
Opportunities to donate blood. The New York Blood Center is accepting donations from people who have recovered from COVID-19 as well as regular donations. Both are extremely important right now! You don't have to go to New York to help. The New York Blood Center has a donation center in New Brunswick and other NJ locations. If you have recovered from the virus, take this Donor Survey to see if you are eligible.
You can also donate blood through Atlantic Health Systems, or the Red Cross, which is safe to do. Blood banks are low on supply due to the coronavirus emergency, and lots of blood drives have been canceled due to closed facilities. So you need to check their links to find the most recent information. AND, if you are recovered from coronavirus, your blood is especially needed for plasma, because it has antibodies and may prove helpful to people with severe cases. Find out how to donate here. You can also donate much needed blood specifically to sickle cell patients.