• 110 Years of NFSB: 2 Special Volunteers, 120 Combined Years of Service

    Dolores Capalbo has no problem remembering her first experience with Nutley Family Service Bureau, even though it was 60 years ago.

    “We were painting the Thrift Shop and I was expecting my son at the time,” Dolores recalls with a smile. “Of course, my husband didn’t know I was painting. If he had seen me up there… oh, boy!”

    During the same period, Dotty Duke joined the Women’s Auxiliary, which would run fundraising events and donate money to NFSB. Dotty later started volunteering at the Thrift Shop, where you’ll still see her helping clients every Friday afternoon.

    “We had so many fundraisers with the Auxiliary,” Dotty said. “The Charity Ball, Fashion Shows, Lollipop Parties, and twice a year, I would host the volunteers at my house for the Summer Luncheon and Christmas Luncheon. Back then, we had 20-30 volunteers, not nearly as many as we have today.”

    Dolores has lived in Nutley since before she was in kindergarten. If the family name sounds familiar, you probably know Capalbo’s Fruit Baskets, a community fixture for decades on Passaic Avenue.

    “I had stopped working after I got married, but you can’t tie down a restless person,” Dolores laughed. “I spent a lot of time helping with our family business. But when the boss wants to leave, she leaves, and I would come to volunteer at the Thrift Shop.”

    Dotty was born and raised in Nutley and has spent a lifetime volunteering.

    “I was always involved in something,” Dotty said. “I was a Cub Scout leader and I volunteered with the Red Cross after school at Nutley High School. After the Women’s Auxiliary, I still wanted to do something for Nutley Family Service Bureau, so I started volunteering at the Thrift Shop three days a week.”

    In addition to sharing a long history of volunteering, Dolores and Dotty are both daughters of immigrants. They feel that their upbringing gives them a greater sense of empathy, especially when interacting with clients who don’t speak English.

    “I speak Spanish fluently,” Dolores said. “I can help when there’s a misunderstanding or miscommunication. It puts people’s minds at ease when they know you can understand them and help them.”
    “I’ve always tried to make myself understood to everyone,” Dotty said. “I remember we were having a sale and a woman was entitled to a free item, but she didn’t understand. I enjoy spending extra time with them. When they do eventually understand, they’re so grateful.”

    Things have changed quite a bit at the NFSB Thrift Shop over the years. Dolores remembers when the Thrift Shop was a much more modest operation.

    “We were a bunch of amateurs back then,” Dolores joked. “Today, the Thrift Shop is more professional. It’s like a boutique, and we work hard to make everything presentable and attractive. It makes me feel good because I know some people wouldn’t be able to go to a store and get such nice clothing at such a reasonable price.”

    Dolores and Dotty are grateful not only to support the mission of NFSB, but also for the many relationships they’ve built with their fellow volunteers and the clients who they still see regularly.

    “There’s a new person who just started volunteering at the Shop,” Dotty said. “She saw how everyone who came in said how happy they were to see me. She said, ‘Does everyone know you?’ I explained to her that some people only come on Friday afternoon because they know I’ll be here and go out of my way to help them. I really enjoy that.”

    NFSB has relied on the kindness and commitment of volunteers for 110 years. We’re so grateful that Dolores and Dotty have been part of our volunteer family for 60 of those years and continue to serve their community today!

    There’s always a place at NFSB for someone who wants to volunteer, from teens to seniors and everywhere in between. If you’d like to learn more about volunteering opportunities, please visit the Volunteering page on our website for forms and more information!

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