As Margit Rademacher affectionately recalls, she “married into Nutley” in 1971. After her son was born in 1975, she started to wonder what she would do with herself when a friend told her about a thrift shop in town that needed volunteers.
“When my son was six months old, my grandmother would babysit and I would volunteer at Nutley Family Service Bureau (NFSB),” Margit said. “For me, it was a social thing, getting out of the house and being around other people. After about a year, I went back to work at ADP and had to stop volunteering.”
Volunteering to Restore a Sense of Purpose
Fast forward to 2011 and Margit retired from ADP, the only employer she ever knew. She had worked for nearly 40 years and had always been so busy and fulfilled. Now, she was looking for reasons to get up in the morning.
“I went to a charity walkathon and met Dolores Capalbo, who is an institution in Nutley,” Margit said. “I was bemoaning the fact that I was no longer working and needed something to stay busy and feel useful. She told me about opportunities to volunteer at NFSB and the Library.”
In addition to joining the Friends of the Nutley Public Library, Margit went to The Shop and filled out the necessary paperwork so she could get started volunteering. She hasn’t stopped since.
“I remember my first day was a Wednesday afternoon and The Shop was crammed full of stuff,” Margit said. “We were busy little beavers, bringing items to the shelves and trying to make everything look presentable. It felt so good to have a sense of purpose again.”
A New Vibe and Even More Impact
Today, Margit is excited about the new vibe at The Shop, which has since moved across the street to its current location at 169 Chestnut Street. She points out that The Shop looks and feels like a boutique, where people can find useful and valuable items at a price they can afford.
“As volunteers, we take great pride in The Shop,” Margit said. “We spend a lot of time going through each item, piece by piece, and organizing everything in a way that creates an enjoyable shopping experience.”
Margit has noticed a dramatic uptick in donations since the pandemic. She attributes the increase to three factors coming together. Many people used extra time at home to go through their attics, garages, and basements, while some residents relocated. Of course, the Nutley community also saw that their neighbors needed help.
“The donations have been crazy bountiful,” Margit said. “Some people were hit hard by Covid. Others who were flooded out by Ida came to NFSB to get basic essentials, like pots and pans, clothing for their children, and food from The Pantry. The interactions with those families and individuals were especially fulfilling.”
The Reward of Making a Difference
One of the greatest benefits of volunteering for Margit has been the opportunity to build relationships.
“I’ve made wonderful new friends,” Margit said. “My co-workers and I see each other socially and celebrate holidays and birthdays together. Volunteering at The Shop has expanded my world in a beautiful way. In addition to making a difference in the lives of clients, volunteering has made a difference in our own lives.”
Margit is grateful to have the opportunity to continue volunteering and make this chapter of her life so rewarding. There is no better home away from home than NFSB.
“I’m doing something outside of myself that helps others,” Margit said. “NFSB has an outstanding reputation and I’m proud to be associated with an organization and a group of people that do such good work.”