Since leaving Queens for Nutley in the 1950s, Loretta Kwapniewski has been the quintessential Nutley “lifer.” She worked for the Township of Nutley in the recreation department for 36 years and in the public works department for another 10 years.
After nearly a half-century serving the people of Nutley, Loretta was ready to retire and move on to the next phase of life. Sitting around and watching the world go by was not an option.
“I wanted to find something to do and stay busy,” Loretta said. “A friend suggested looking into Nutley Family Service Bureau. I stopped by, started volunteering, and I’ve been there ever since. That was more than six years ago.”
Loretta knew about NFSB from their fundraising events in town and the township commissioners were involved in some capacity. However, she didn’t fully understand the scope of NFSB services and how many people were directly involved with the organization.
“My biggest surprise was how many people in town volunteer here,” Loretta said. “Many have been here for quite a while, maybe 20 or 30 years. Their commitment to helping other people is amazing.”
Loretta spends most of her time volunteering in The Shop. She’ll work the register, sort donated items, and help clients. She also tries to participate whenever there’s an event and has enjoyed volunteering during the Scouting for Food Drive.
“It’s a wonderful thing that the Scouts do every year,” Loretta said. “I remember a time when one of the Scouts brought in 1,900 items! When you see something like that, it opens your eyes to the generosity of the community and the dedication of the Scouts.”
Loretta is a member of the Franklin Reformed Church in Nutley. Always looking for ways to give back to their community, the congregation decided to launch a service project called Carts for Caring that would benefit The Pantry at NFSB.
“We got carts from ShopRite and marched in the Memorial Day parade, collecting donations of food and money,” Loretta said. “We put out a flyer and banner, contacted the schools, and shared information on Facebook, and I coordinated what we were doing at NFSB. Carts for Caring was very successful the first time we marched in the parade before the pandemic and we were able to get back out there this year.”
Keep an eye out for Franklin Reformed Church members pushing carts at local events if you’d like to make a donation to The Pantry at NFSB!
Even after volunteering for years, Loretta is still in awe of the generosity of the Nutley community.
“The contributions we receive are just amazing,” Loretta said. “People in town, and many not in town, always seem to be thinking about this organization with their donations of food, clothing, and other things. NFSB does so much good for the community and it just feels good to be able to help. It feels like I’m part of something special.”
If you’d like to find out about volunteering opportunities at NFSB, feel free to attend one of our Volunteer Information Open House events on the second Monday and third Tuesday of every month. You can also download applications and other forms directly from our website!