Booties, bibs, and blankets were piled as high as a high chair at Livingston’s Temple Beth Shalom last Sunday. Volunteers ranging from 5 to 75 years old bustled about, organizing supplies for the National Council of Jewish Women’s annual Tuck In event.
The organization recruited family volunteers to help assemble special diaper bags to distribute to caregivers of newborn babies in need, through social service agencies across Essex County.
Every newborn deserves a great start and through this program, infants — preemies through 12 months — who are served by Children’s Aid and Family Services, Clara Maas Hospital, Harmony House, and Newark Beth Israel nursery and NICU will receive a diaper bag filled with provisions important for physical and emotional growth.
Many of the NCJW volunteers at Beth Shalom brought husbands and children to help sort the donated items for the bags.
Each sack included necessities such as diapers, wipes, health care items, and pacifiers. The babies will also receive personal gifts, including rattles, pajamas, onesies, stuffed animals, and books to promote social interaction and reading.
NCJW also has a special group called “Creative Hands” which spends hours hand knitting and crocheting pastel baby blankets and hats for each newborn.
Sunday’s volunteers set up an assembly line on rows of tables to ensure each bag was stuffed with supplies. Some were donated or purchased through cash gifts, but the remainder of the stock was sponsored by NCJW.
Another generous member gift allowed NCJW to donate 50 mobiles to babies at Newark Beth Israel who will have an extended stay in the hospital. The mobiles will provide stimulation for the infants, several of whom were born with serious medical problems or are waiting for a foster family to bring them home.
The Tuck In event provided families from Livingston, Maplewood, Short Hills, the Caldwells and other nearby towns with a meaningful opportunity to help the Essex County community. Several of the children volunteers had worked on the program in previous years and were happy to be back doing their part.
NCJW member Jill Edinburg of Montclair said she wants her children to understand there are many kids in need. “The event is a perfect opportunity for children of all ages to pitch in and experience the satisfaction of helping others.”
NCJW is an organization of volunteers and advocates who strive to improve the quality of life for women, children and families.
If you are interested in volunteering or making a donation to the Tuck In program or any other NCJW effort, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Sue Wasserman at firstname.lastname@example.org.