I had fallen on hard times financially, I was forced to move back with my family into the house where I grew up on Berkeley Road in River Edge, the house where I became the head of the household at 15 after my father died of a sudden heart attack. Right after Christmas and into January 2011, we had lots of large snowstorms which forced everyone to be stuck indoors. It brought back vivid memories of when I was 12 years old and my father was the first one on the block to buy a Toro Power handle snow blower.
My parents had two older couples who were friends of theirs on the block - the Wiesemans and the Tewes - neither had any children. One was on the end of our block on the corner of 5th and Berkeley and the other one lived 4 houses down in the other direction both on our side of the street. Every time it snowed, it was my job to clean our driveway and sidewalks and then snowplow all the way down the block in each direction and also plow their driveways.
So during a January 2011 snowstorm, I looked out our living room window to the house across the street and saw Nick using his powerful snow blower to plow the house of Ruth, a 96 year old, and the house of a young couple who were pregnant with their first child.
As a job seeker living in River Edge, what constantly amazed me was how some friends, neighbors, and even total strangers did things to help me and my family, and in some cases did things anonymously. For Christmas, someone left a wonderful gift basket of holiday items on our doorstep without a card attached. I wish that I could call them today to tell them how much that meant.
Despite being at the lowest point and unemployed, I was thinking about starting a job search group. Watching the snow blowing made it obvious what it should be called: “Neighbors helping Neighbors”. This is exactly what Nick was doing and exactly what I did 43 years ago on the same block. My oldest son Matthew made up the logo and I printed up flyers to put up in River Edge library.