Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Woman's Club Glad to Give Art Supplies to New Shelter

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Woman's Club Glad to Give Art Supplies to New Shelter

Article excerpt

CLIFTON -- A long-established women's group lent a hand to a start-up homeless shelter on Thursday, donating more than $200 in arts supplies for 11 children who are temporarily living there.

The members of the Allwood Woman's Club might joke that their act of kindness could be described as grandmas helping Grandma's Place, the name of the shelter where they dropped off a plastic bin filled with coloring books, pencils, watercolors and crayons.

The club, founded in 1933, has just 24 active members, only a handful of whom are younger than 50. But a dwindling membership has not stopped the club from charitable giving, and it's the club's sort of one-by-one support that has been crucial to Grandma's Place, said founder Lilianna Elizabeth Giedrys.

"Small groups of people -- these people are trying to help us as much as they can," Giedrys told the club members as she thanked them for the donation. "Clifton has been fabulous -- churches, your group, the city."

The Woman's Club president, Barbara Lemley, said Thursday's donation was meant to build on the club's support for the shelter. Ever since meeting Giedrys a few years ago, the club has allocated a small amount in its annual budget for Grandma's Place.

"We just became so interested in what she did and respectful of what she did, we just included her," Lemley said.

Grandma's Place was founded in 2010 by Giedrys, a native of Poland who immigrated to the U.S. in 1988.

For more than a decade, Giedrys worked at Kings Inn hotel in Wayne, rising from desk clerk to assistant manager. It was there that the idea of Grandma's Place was born, sparked by the hotel's agreement with the Passaic County Board of Social Services to provide some rooms to homeless families in the late '90s.

Giedrys said she saw parents sleep in their rooms until 2 in the afternoon, in one case leaving a child to drink water from a toilet bowl. Many children wouldn't attend school or do much of anything but watch TV all day, she said. …

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