Glen Ridge residents give to the needy

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GLEN RIDGE, NJ — Two traditional Glen Ridge acts of community generosity were displayed this past Saturday morning a stone’s throw away from each other. One was the Thanksgiving turkey collection at the train station by the Rotary Club of Glen Ridge while across the street in the high school parking lot was the Kiwanis Club of Glen Ridge’s semi-annual clothing and household appliance drive.

The Rotary Club collected 157 turkeys, one ham, 1 ½ pallets of canned goods and $755 in cash when everything was tallied. According to Michael Rohal, the donations were earmarked for the Community Food Bank of NJ. The collection has been ongoing for 19 years and on Saturday volunteers from Peerless Beverage Co. were on hand to help for the fifth consecutive year. Rohal said the club has 22 members.

The Kiwanis collection drive, renamed the Joseph T. Connelly Collection Drive two years ago, has been around for at least 30 years, according to Connelly’s wife, Phyllis. Peter Ebling, the Kiwanis secretary, said the drive began as a clothing drive, but Connelly expanded it to include “all sorts of stuff.” What is collected goes to Big Brothers and Big Sisters, a nonprofit organization. On Saturday, assistance came from the Glen Ridge High School Key Club and the Circle K of Montclair University, which was established three years ago.

At the end of the day, Kiwanis had collected a truck load of donations, down from last year when two trucks were filled. But membership has increased this year by five inductees, bringing the club total to 28 members.