2013-12-26 / Front Page

Duo brings love of the holidays to children

By JACQUELINE DURETT
Correspondent

The two women behind the boroughbased organization For the Love of Jersey continue to make a difference for their neighbors.

Jaime Reinwald and Stefanie Flodmand, both South River residents, are ensuring that the holidays are a little brighter for children in need in East Brunswick through their “Ring and Run” initiative. The duo brings packages to families, explaining they are doing so on behalf of Santa.

For their organization, the two complete ad hoc volunteer projects throughout the state.

“To these kids, Santa and the North Pole are very real, and I work very hard to put my own worries aside to make sure I am ‘on’ because in that moment they believe in me and Santa. That is a huge responsibility,” Reinwald said.

Reinwald said the duo received names from East Brunswick’s recreation department and through personal references.

For the Love of Jersey has also partnered with Ulta in East Brunswick and World Tavern Poker Entertainment in North Carolina. Of the latter, Reinwald said, the company will reward players with extra chips for bringing an unwrapped toy or three cans of food.

She said two area bars are collecting for the effort. Leftover food donations will be given to the borough’s food pantry.

The pair has done “Ring and Runs” in the past, and Reinwald said the most important lesson they learned for a successful holiday season this year is to start early.

“Every year, another step or process gets added onto this, and it’s just a lot of planning, delegation and patience.”

Reinwald said she and Flodmand know they can’t do it alone, often recruiting family and friends to assist.

Reinwald said they also look for ways to improve each year.

“We make sure we pick apart our work after Christmas to see what gets nixed and what stays and what we will add. That debriefing is so important. Communication is huge, and just keeping track of it all and staying organized as far as who gets what and who did what,” she said.

The duo was doing deliveries right through the weekend before Christmas.

“We want [kids] to know Santa didn’t forget them,” Reinwald said.

Reinwald and Flodmand are also assisting a borough family who has a daughter with autism obtain a sensory gym.

“This became an ‘add-on’ project, as I have two baby cousins who are autistic, and I am of the mindset that whatever a child needs to achieve they should have,” Reinwald said.

She said that in partnership with an organization called Bianca’s Kids in Williamstown, she’s been able to work toward getting the gym. In 2014, she said, the pair has no plans to slow down.

“Next year’s goals will be to continue to be where we are needed. We will be working on a Christmas in July fundraising event to kick off our holiday program as well as other ways to raise funds for the holidays and emergency need,” Reinwald said, adding that they would also like to “talk to local middle and high schoolers about the importance of community and service and giving back.”

She and Flodmand are hopeful they will soon have enough of their own funds to register as a nonprofit.

Reinwald also said the two, who already run a Facebook page, are considering blogging about their work and how others can get involved.

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