The Coronavirus has hit many in our community hard, but perhaps the most vulnerable among us have been most affected – our seniors.
Many of our seniors already had trouble getting out before the pandemic, then, with the shutdown, many were forced to stay in their homes, not able to go out for food or medications, without feeling threatened by the virus. The isolation has taken its toll on many.
This is why resident volunteer Sue Seto of Giving Back has teamed up with the Township and Berkeley Heights PBA Local 144 to collect goodies for children in our community to make Easter “baskets” (bags that children will decorate) for our seniors. Giving Back has grown in recognition in recent months, as it has encouraged children in our community to give back in various ways to the community. A few of the recent events included:
- organizing a food drive - involving over 40 children and 3 carloads of food delivered to St. Joseph’s in Elizabeth.
- The children spent the Christmas holiday making over 800 cards for surrounding local nursing homes.
- They collected over 50 backpacks and filled them with core essentials for people who reentered society from being incarcerated.
These are just some of the amazing activities the children have participated in.
“Starting Giving Back and involving the children in the various initiatives has been very rewarding,” said Seto. “My children and I have always been involved with volunteer work so it was natural to extend the experiences to other children. Whether it is helping those who are less fortunate, those who are just having a hard time during the pandemic, or putting a smile on the Seniors’ faces, we really enjoy it. I plan to continue these efforts and I hope our community will continue to support Giving Back.”
Since the Township has been running a senior COVID vaccination program and has communicated with many seniors who may be feeling very isolated, depressed and cut off from their community, Township Administrator Liza Viana and Seto collaborated on a list that identified our seniors who may be in the most dire need of some cheer this Easter season. Viana also collected donations from Township employees at Town Hall.
“Through this vaccination program, we have been talking with many seniors who have really helped us better understand the life many of them have been living for the past year,” said Viana. “Many already felt as if they were not connected to the inner fabric of our community; this pandemic not only exacerbated that, but also cut them off from family and friends they may otherwise see. It brings tears to your eyes. THESE are the residents we are trying to reach with this Easter effort.”
The Berkeley Heights PBA Local #144 graciously donated funds to purchase many materials for the bags.
“The Berkeley Heights PBA is always looking for ways to give back to our community,” added PBA President and Berkeley Heights Police Detective Brian Nigro. “Helping Giving Back to bring some happiness to our town’s most vulnerable is a natural extension of our community policing efforts. Bringing in our kids – our town’s future - to handmake and deliver Easter bags for the generation that came before them, this was a no-brainer for us.”
Children will decorate the Easter bags, fill them with a combination of hand sanitizer, chapsticks, tissue packs, Easter candy and other goodies. They will then hand-deliver them to seniors’ homes – practicing all COVID safety protocols – like little bunnies, and hopefully bring them a little socially distanced joy.
Giving Back is accepting donations of the following items from now through March 31:
- Travel-sized lotion and sanitizers
- Travel-sized games (cards, small crossword puzzles)
- Fuzzy Socks
Donations can be dropped off at the new Berkeley Heights Town Hall off of Berkeley Ave (off of Park) - 29 Park Avenue; box will be located just inside the vestibule. Or, residents can reach out to Sue Seto directly at 917-583-8682 for dropoff until 3/31/21.