How We’ve Brought Garwood Together Through Community Events

This article was published in the Monday, October 6, 2019 edition of The Patch.

When I ran for Council three years ago, I vowed to “Bring Garwood Together.” This was more than a campaign slogan, but a promise. What better way to bring Garwood’s residents together than through town-wide community events—opportunities where we can meet our neighbors, build relationships, and give back to our community?

“I look forward to keeping these going and launching even more in the future to Bring Garwood Together!”

Inspired by a similar event in Fanwood, I helped as Councilwoman to transform Martin Luther King, Jr. Day from a “day off” to a “day on” for Garwood where we could strengthen our community through MLK Day of Service events. Our MLK Day of Service provided everyone, from children to seniors with volunteer opportunities to pay it forward to those in need. We spent the day in the Garwood Firehouse, creating valentines for our veterans, safety kits for our seniors, and sandwiches for the homeless. It was a day that truly exemplified Garwood’s spirit as a “Small Town with a Big Heart.”

One of the most fun events that I’ve helped organize over my past three years as Councilwoman was our incredible “Touch-a-Truck” event. On Sunday, April 7, 2019, Garwood’s kids spent the day exploring, climbing and touching (and also plenty of honking) the vehicles that Garwood’s service departments use every day —from police cars to backhoes to fire trucks. Families, neighbors, and the hard working men and women who take care of Garwood daily came together – all while enjoying some cotton candy. With the effort of dozens of volunteers, this event cost the borough nothing and was free to all — by all measures a success!

If you’re like me, I love the parks and other community spaces in Garwood, and so, as Councilwoman, I’ve helped organize efforts to keep Garwood clean and green. Through Garwood’s Green Team, I’ve led the charge in cleanups, plantings, and other beautification projects throughout the year to bring residents together and to enhance our beautiful town. Plastic recycling challenges and Clean Communities Day also gave those interested in furthering Garwood’s environmental sustainability a chance to meet others who have similar interests and goals.

In a day and age where we spend so much time on phone screens, Garwood’s community events are opportunities where we can all come together and share an experience. It’s how we’re keeping the “small town” spirit alive today, and I’m proud of the work that we’ve done on Council over the past three years to make these events happen. I look forward to keeping these going and launching even more in the future to Bring Garwood Together!

Jen Blumenstock
Garwood Councilwoman and Candidate