Smiles of the Week 5.29

Warwick. Neighbors feeding neighbors, good deeds, and the chance to win a gift card for shopping locally

Newton /
| 26 May 2020 | 05:17

Free meals for Automotive and Restaurant Workers

Mohawk House and Nielsen Automotive Group want to show their peers that they’re there for them, both in good times and challenging ones.

The two businesses have partnered to offer free hot meals to those in their industries: autoworkers and restaurant employees. From Monday, June 1, through Friday, June 5, anyone in the auto or restaurant industry can swing by Mohawk House and ask for one “Industry Entrée” between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

The farm-to-table restaurant and auto group know firsthand how hard individuals working in their industries have been hit: from those out of work, to staff working tirelessly as essential employees.

“We’re trying to give back and show some appreciation for folks who have lived this for a while now,” said Steve Scro, owner of Mohawk House. “We want to keep everybody’s chin up.”

“Both of our industries have suffered during this pandemic,” explained Bill Souffer, GM of Nielsen Automotive Group. “We thought it would be nice to recognize people in our industries, knowing that some are working, we wanted to show our appreciation for those that are. And for those that are out of work, we want to thank you for hanging in there and hopefully we’ll all get back to work soon.”

Neighborly Love

Since April, a group of volunteers has been delivering bags of groceries to seniors and those without transportation living in the Brookside Terrace apartments in Newton. Emily Perez-Irizarry, her daughters, and a neighbor have been leading the effort with help from the Sparta Ecumenical Food Pantry, which has been providing the food. Contributions from the community, Bennie’s Bodega, The Sussex County Hunger Coalition, and Newton Democrats have also pitched in to provide this food to those in need.

“I've never lived in a county with such a generous community,” said Perez-Irizarry, who moved to Sussex County after living in South Jersey. “I wanted to make sure Brookside residents could get the help they needed. I figured this is also a good way to get my girls active in the community even when we don't have much to give.”

Helping the homeless

Warwick, N.Y., resident Kisha Acevedo, with help from her husband and daughter, has been building bags of food and travel sized items for the local homeless population. Family, friends, and her colleagues at Horizon Family Medical Group have pitched in.

“I decided to do something. Especially with the Covid, I knew shelters were closing and weren’t able to give out much food,” said Acevedo.

The bags are filled with goods that are small and easy to carry: travel-sized bath products, shaving cream, packable food, toothbrushes, razors, and more.

Acevedo has been bringing them to The Guild of St. Margaret Soup Kitchen in Middletown, N.Y. to be distributed weekly.

“She and her family should be commended for their selflessness and their doing their part during this trying time,” her coworker, Barbara Rys Pacer wrote in a message to the newspaper.

Stolen Bike Replaced

An Upper Greenwood Lake kid, Jack, was awarded a bike a few years ago for his volunteer work with the West Milford Family Pump Track.

Then last week, someone stole it.

West Milford Family Pump Track president Jay Huggins shared a photo of the orange bike on Facebook, asking the community to be on the lookout. The community rallied, sharing post. It was shared over 167 times and reached more than 14,000 people.

“This hit home for an awful lot of people,” said Huggins. “A lot of people were not happy about this.”

Town Cycle in West Milford, The West Milford Family Pump Track, and anonymous donors joined forces to provide a new bike for Jack before the weekend hit.

Huggins put it out on social media for pump track regulars to gather—at a safe distance—at the pump track on Friday. He also reached out to Jack’s dad; they told Jack the track needed some volunteer help.

Instead, Jack was presented with a brand new bike when he got there.

“I’m so happy that in four days, we got him a new bike, and the world is all back to normal in one respect,” said Huggins. “This is a good kid. I’m glad that we were able to help him out and reiterate to him: ‘If you’re a good kid, good things happen.’”

Shop Small, Win Big

To support local businesses and our community, the newspaper is awarding a $50 gift card every week to a randomly selected reader for shopping locally.

To enter to win, upload a picture of an item you recently purchased (excluding groceries) to our contest page at:

Every week, we’ll be featuring our favorite items, choosing one winner, and publishing the names of everyone who made an effort to shop locally. The $50 gift card awarded weekly will be from a local small business.