NJ church plans weekend of helping the homeless, hungry and helpless
To help with an increasing number of people in need, a church in Parsippany plans to mobilize 1,600 volunteers to spread the love through acts of service in communities across New Jersey.
Liquid Church's Love Weekend is October 19-21. Outreach director Kristen Hosen says they partnered with organizations to give back through after-school programs, feeding the hungry and helping animal shelters. They plan to bring joy to foster care children, renovate a domestic violence shelter for women and children, make scarves for the homeless and host a special-needs family festival.
Last year, Liquid Church hosted Love Week with more than 3,000 volunteers conducting 10,000 hours of community service. But this year, Hosen said the church wanted to concentrate on one weekend.
In Essex County, Hosen said they've partnered with the Nutley Family Service Bureau, whose mission is to provide affordable mental health counseling and social service programs to families in need. Liquid Church volunteers will help transport food supplies from its temporary food storage facilities to a newly renovated food pantry.
In Middlesex County, Liquid Church partnered with Town Clock, which provides permanent and affordable housing to survivors of domestic violence. Volunteers plan to renovate and beautify the organization's shelter for women and children.
In Morris County, Liquid Church volunteers will host a free fall family festival where they will serve people with special needs. There will be games, activities, food and entertainment. Also in partnership with the mayor's office, volunteers will help beautify the grounds of the Parsippany Animal Shelter.
In Somerset County, Hosen said they've partnered up with the Arc of Somerset County, which provides services and advocacy to individuals with special needs and their families. Volunteers will assist guests with a fall-themed craft.
In Union County, they're working with Together We Rise, an organization seeking to improve the lives of children in foster care.
"We are going to be decorating over 200 'sweet cases' and it's a duffel bag. So these children as they transition from families, they'll be able to have an actual bag to put their belongings in instead of just some old suitcase or plastic bag as a lot of kids do as they go from families and agencies," said Hosen.
The sweet cases will be stuffed with a teddy bear, hygiene kit, blanket and a note of encouragement.
The weekend ends with Stuff the Truck at Zarephath Christian Church in Hunterdon County. Volunteers will be collecting Thanksgiving goodies such as stuffing and canned yams — all the things a family may need to have a good holiday.
Hosen encouraged anyone and everyone to get involved with Love Weekend. Go to www.liquidchurch.com/loveweekend. From there you can select a county and an event you're interested in and help volunteer.