The feel-good commercials have started, the decorations are out, and the stores are well-stocked with garish abundance. There is no denying it. They’re here. The holidays. For some, they bring excitement and joy. For others, they bring worry and stress about how they are going to pull this off for their families. And the people doing this worrying might be living right next door to you, but if they are worrying in silence, you might now even realize it. This is, undoubtedly, one of the most expensive times of the year. Thank God it is also the time of the greatest charity.
Cranford Family Care has been around for a long, long time. It was originally founded in 1936, during a time of great need due to the Great Depression. Today, as it has always been, Cranford Family Care’s philosophy is one of neighbors helping neighbors. That’s what makes this charitable organization different from the larger, umbrella charity organizations – immediate and visible gratification on the parts of both those giving and those receiving. When you make a donation to the CFC, it quite literally, albeit discreetly, goes to your neighbors. It is like holding out what you have to offer and passing it almost directly into the hands of those right around you that need it and are grateful for it. And it has helped many a Cranford family out of some difficult times, until they could get back on their feet once again.
The CFC provides short-term, emergency assistance to families living in Cranford, including help with rent, mortgage payments, and utilities, as well as help with groceries. Contributors to the CFC can take assurance in knowing that ninety-two cents of every dollar goes DIRECTLY to helping those neighbors in need.
So how can you help? They gladly accept monetary donations, as well as gift cards of every denomination (local grocery stores, Target, Walmart, and any other local general merchandise and grocery stores are best). When you are grocery shopping for those holiday meal necessities, why not double up on some items? Often, stores have buy one get one, or five for $5.00, or similar sales. So rather than buy ONE box of stuffing mix, buy TWO, or if you’re not going to use all 5 cans of cranberry sauce, get them at the sale price anyway. And, by all means, if you earn a free turkey that you are just going to shove I the freezer, consider donating it to a family for whom it would mean the difference between having a Thanksgiving dinner or not having one . . . . or for whom making that dinner happen would be a tremendous strain. Are your kids in a scouting group, or does their class need a project? Why not have a food drive, or even earn that cooking badge by baking up some lasagnas or pies? (If you do MAKE food, it’s a wise idea to list ingredients, and arrange the donation ahead of time by calling the CFC.) The CFC people are extremely friendly, so why not give a call to see what it is that they are in the most need of? They usually tailor their donations to the specific needs of the local receiving families, so they might be able to provide you with some very specific ideas of what you can offer to help out.
You don’t even have to go out of your way to make donations. Consider dropping items off at local businesses you use anyway. Cutting Crew of Cranford, at 18 North Union Avenue, is hosting a food drive this weekend for the Cranford Family Care food pantry. Bring in any non perishable food items and receive a VIP upgrade on any service. Elements Therapeutic Massage, at 18 North Avenue, will also be holding a canned food drive for Cranford Family Care’s Food Pantry. Donations here will be accepted from Oct 15 until Nov 21, and anyone bringing 2 cans or 2 boxed dry goods will receive a certificate for a free Hot Stone upgrade. Cranford Family Dentistry is also accepting non-perishable food donations at their 188 North Avenue, Suite 100 office Cranford office from November 1st through November 25th. Or you can always make donations directly to the CFC building,at 61 Myrtle Street, right alongside the Cerebal Palsy League building.
And if you know of someone in your neighborhood that might be able to use a leg up for the time being, encourage them to contact Cranford Family Care for help. Often, that first phone call or email is the hardest thing to do. But this organization is discreet, user-friendly, and there TO help Cranfordians to live comfortably in their own homes and neighborhood, surrounded by those who care. Families seeking assistance from Cranford Family Care must prove residency in Cranford and fill out an application. Remind them that the nicest thing about a local charity such as this one is that once the recipients are back on their feet, they can pay it forward by donating an item or two to the CFC in the future, to help some OTHER neighbor get on their feet again. It’s a constant circle of neighbors helping neighbors. That’s the spirit of Cranford, and what community is all about. This Thanksgiving, you can give thanks for being able to help others, or give thanks for others who can help you out.
To contact Cranford Family Care, to ask about either giving or receiving donations, call (908) 276-3306. They will be happy to take your call!!!