Though power has been restored, streets have been cleared of major debris, and residents are starting to remove downed trees and fix any physical damage left by Hurricane Sandy, one local woman is working on a project to ease the emotional burden left on those who lived through the storm.
By day, Mahwah resident Jennifer Belthoff works for the Toys R Us corporate offices in Wayne, and as a server and bartender at Ramsey’s Chili’s restaurant by night. But her true passions, she says, are writing, and helping others. So, in her spare time she has put together a volunteer project called “ Love Notes.”
Her concept, she said, was simple – “I ask for volunteers and I pair them up randomly,” she said. “Then, I send them several writing prmpts over the course of three weeks.”
Participants are asked to mail a positive, uplifting note or postcard responding to the prompts to their random project partner.
“Receiving something other than bills in the mail is a great way to brighten someone’s day,” Belthoff said. “It is something tangible they can hold in their hand and go back to again and again.”
She founded Love Notes in May, and has since run two successful rounds of postcard mailings.
After Hurricane Sandy hit, she said she was inspired to use the projects to spread a little hope and love to those suffering emotionally from the storm’s impacts.
“I think it’s a great way to get people to use the medium again. Text messages are nice, but you can’t hang them on the fridge. And, I think there’s something special that happens when we receive a handwritten note. I want Sandy victims to feel that way,” she said.
So, Love Notes is looking for both people who want to write them, and people who may want to receive them. Click here to volunteer your time, or submit the name of someone you know who could use a little post-Sandy pick-me-up.