Smiles of the Week

Kids really rule this week. Share your good news with us, and it may end up in our next 'Smiles.' Email: comm.engage@strausnews.com

27 Apr 2020 | 02:16

Sweet Sixteen

Aidan Bell wasn’t looking for a big party or gifts for his sixteenth birthday.

Instead, he asked the community to drop off food pantry donations outside his home between noon and 7 p.m. on Monday, April 20. He wasn’t expecting much of a response.

But by 12:01 donations had already started pouring in.

Throughout the day, local West Milford and Hewitt residents dropped off non-perishable donations — and also some balloons, candy and even a superhero mask for Aidan.

By the end of the day, more than 25 bags of food had been dropped off.

Aidan brought them all to the West Milford Presbyterian Church’s food pantry.

“The community really came together and made his birthday wish come true,” said his Mom, Janine Weinert. “The community was so generous and kind .... He wants to thank everyone from the bottom of his heart for making his birthday the best ever!”

Booking it

Fourth grade student Zoe Espinal (with some help from her mom, Easter) started an online reading group on Facebook: “Reading with Zoe and Friends.”

Zoe, who attends Pine Tree Elementary in Monroe and a few of her friends take turns reading a book live on Facebook every day.

They’ve been reading to about 160 group members for more than 40 days now. Zoe and her friends are looking for more kids to read live with them.

Check it out on Facebook.

Mask makers

When the Fredon Volunteer Fire Company asked residents if anyone could donate masks, Conner and Nathan Itnyre of Fredon, N.J., jumped at the opportunity. The brothers made 16 using their 3-D printer and promptly dropped them off at the fire department.

Fore the frontline workers

To thank frontline workers — and give them a little something to look forward to with brighter days ahead — Crystal Springs Resort in Sussex County, N.J., is running a “Healthcare and Frontline Heroes” program.

For all gift card purchases made through their website, Crystal Springs will donate 50 percent of the total gift card amount in resort credit to Atlantic Healthcare, or the buyer can choose to pass that gift along to a frontline worker of his or her choice.

Crystal Springs is also offering a special “30 Day Power Play” for golf, featuring unlimited golfing options to be used any month in 2020 or 2021.

Whenever a power play is purchased, Crystal Springs is donating $100 to Atlantic Health or a frontline worker of the buyer’s choice.

These resort credits can be used towards anything from couples retreats and family vacations, to golf trips, spa packages, outdoor recreation and more.