Welcome to Livingston Philanthropies, Inc. (LPI). Now completing our 8th season of operation, LPI’s mission is “providing for the poor, homeless and disenfranchised.” These are families and individuals living completely out on the streets or well below the poverty line, literally minutes away from most of our homes. Our state’s poorest.
Last spring, Livingston Philanthropies achieved 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation status. Along with myriad donated items, we began accepting monetary contributions. LPI announced its first-ever fundraising initiative at the beginning of September, 2018.
We are pleased to report our eight-year coat donation totals. The results are gratifying. During the 2018-2019 season, Livingston Philanthropies (LPI) surpassed 12,000 coats/jackets donated. Utilizing the conservative figure of three pounds per garment, that’s 36,000 pounds, or some 18 tons of warmth. All picked-up and distributed using volunteer vehicles and people power, which includes heavy deployment of founder and director Jeff Friedman’s personal sedan. These totals do not include thousands of winter accessories, toiletries, family clothing, shoes, many hundreds of men’s suits, dress attire items, diapers, women’s products, cosmetics gift bags, specialty items and more.
Livingston’s venerable weekly newspaper, the West Essex Tribune, continues to play a key role as LPI’s partner. Each week, for eight seasons, Tribune editors have run feature articles and photos to promote our work and multiple initiatives. The Tribune also provides their offices as LPI’s donation collection center.
LPI commenced its philanthropic efforts by collecting just 300 coats in 2011. Like most things in life and business, it’s been an evolution. A learning curve, if you will. It became apparent that hotel-size toiletries are urgently needed by the homeless. Personal hygiene is attempted out on the streets, when a quick wash-up or shower opportunity presents itself. Or, the homeless and profoundly poor sometimes know of spots where running water is available for a quick tooth brushing. One cannot practice good personal hygiene without personal hygiene products.
Our “Trish Duffy Toiletries & Cosmetics Challenge,” named to honor one of Livingston’s best who recently passed, continues. Since Trish made the inspirational first toiletries donation some years back, LPI continues its focus on the collection and distribution of hotel-sized toiletries, including shampoo, conditioner, lotion, razors, tooth brushes, tooth paste, mouth wash, cotton swabs, soap, women’s personal products and diapers. Yes, diapers. It’s beyond sad that infants and babies are out on the streets, existing with their families.
Naturally, homeless women and girls, who own literally nothing, want to look good, too. New cosmetics and cosmetic samples are loved and enjoyed by those who don’t have financial access to such products. Donors have stepped-up with many thousands of new cosmetic items; fine brands just sitting in drawers or on dressing tables for months or even years. Philanthropies volunteers are thrilled by the happiness and surprise on the faces of teenage girls and women when receiving nail polish, lipstick, perfume, powder, scents, lotion, gift sets and more.
Through LPI’s continuing evolution, we also received thousands of pounds of family clothing and shoes for donation to multiple distribution partners in Newark and East Orange. Families living below the poverty line, or much worse, shop free-of-charge at facilities called the “Clothing Boutique” and “Clothes Barn.” Livingston’s generous and continuing donations help to stock the racks on a weekly basis and has done so for years.
Livingston Philanthropies, Inc. has been pleased with its multi-year “Personal Shopping for the Homeless” initiative. Folks want to give back, so they take advantage of discounts at local stores. They also shop online. Whether it’s warm coats, winter accessories, socks, gloves, underwear or shirts, it’s all badly needed. “If you see something, buy something,” as we enjoy saying at LPI.
Now expanding operations into neighboring communities, LPI is fortunate to work closely with a colleague at Montclair State University who collects hundreds of toiletries and cosmetics campus-wide. The volunteer club at Jonathan Dayton High School in Springfield provides hundreds of coats, winter accessories and prepared food items, as well.
Livingston Philanthropies, Inc. founder and director, Jeff Friedman, forecasts continued growth working with existing partners, while bringing a new township or region on board for LPI’s upcoming 9th season in 2019-2020.