Volume 22, Number 26 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | November 6 - 12, 2009e
Downtowners pitching in to help others
By Wickham Boyle
It is not a secret; well Forbes magazine reported it. Tribeca is the richest zip code in New York City and the 12th richest in the nation. So it makes perfect sense that this neighborhood would want to share its riches with others less fortunate. I know that many wonderful charities exist south of Canal St. but there are a few new initiatives that deserve a special nod.
Joe Wightman who runs Mail Boxes Etc. on Greenwich St. right across from P.S. 234, always seems to have his finger on the pulse of doing the right thing, and this fall is no different. When Joe heard about an organization called Hour Children, a non-profit which for 15 years has been dedicated to helping women who have been incarcerated and help preserve the bond between mother and child during prison and after release, he decided to take action. Joe heard that women who have babies in prison no longer have access to a small allowance to purchase baby things. According to Joe, “It is tough enough, really immeasurably sad, to think of a young woman having a baby in prison, but then to not be able to cloth it, we had to help.”
So with the help of some locals — notably Kohs Kids, Moomah, Tribeca Language Center, Pomme, TriBeCa Girl, Washington Market School, the Church Street School and some Downtown pediatricians — a division of Hour Children called BUNDLE was born and Mail Boxes became the chief distribution center. Fliers began to appear all over Tribeca saying, “Here’s where you come in. Donate your baby clothes, toys, and cribs, anything that your wonderful kids have out grown and you’re not saving. Bring it to 295 Greenwich Street or we will pick it up JUST CALL 718 433 47 25.”
And the donations have been pouring in. “ The van has been here twice to take away a crib, diapers, toys and mountains of clothes. Hour Children can distribute baby things but also has a Thrift shop and a mentor program for older children so any donations will be well utilized.
When word got out about Bundle, another new organization called Tribeca Foundry asked if they might be able to assist in our next clothing drive. Tribeca Foundry is a new community based service corps, which organizes collection drives to provide gently, used goods, which are culled from Tribecans and donated to non-profit organizations. According to one of the founders Christine Sciulli, “Tribeca Foundry aims to engage the residents, schools and businesses of its community in gleaning from its closets and shelves, and hosting its collections. In other words, those with so much helping those with less”
Tribeca Foundry’s event this fall is a used book drive to benefit an organization called Jumpstart for Young Children. Books for ages 3-5 can be dropped off Nov. 9 - 12, at JCP Downtown, 146 Duane St. during working hours. Jumpstart will use the collected books to create a new library for a Brooklyn preschool partner. Currently, the preschool has a space dedicated for a library but does not have any books to fill the space. Volunteers will help to sort and organize the books into a functioning library.
So two new Downtown organizations are helping to ensure that families with so much can share the wealth. And the wonderful Tribeca businesses, who have themselves gone through so much building and rebuilding are right there to assist and support. Let’s all get into our closets, cupboards and under the beds to donate to these organizations.
Wickham Boyle, a freelance writer, is volunteering for Bundle.