Friendship Circle of New Jersey — which supports youngsters with special needs and their families — held a social-distancing CARnival in the parking lot of its LifeTown facility in Livingston. On June 14, more than 550 people arrived to see the lot transformed into an outdoor carnival with balloons, arcade games (that could be played from inside the car), a petting zoo, a clown, and a bubble car wash.
The goal, said Friendship Circle CEO Rabbi Zalman Grossbaum, “was to ease the sense of loneliness our families have been feeling and give them a chance to get out and enjoy a beautiful day together, while maintaining social distance.”
The youngsters colored a 14,000-square-foot chalk mural at the CARnival that said, “Thank U Health Heroes,” to express appreciation to emergency workers during the pandemic.
“It’s just so nice to get out of the house and be so welcomed by everyone at Friendship Circle and LifeTown,” said Tara Stauber of Hoboken as her children, Emma, 9; Jack, 6; and Samuel, 3, worked on the mural. “I’m super-impressed by the volunteers and how everyone was so careful that the kids had fun.”
It was the first time that Ethan Amsterdam, 14, of Livingston volunteered for the Friendship Circle. As he ran the ice pop concession cart, he said, “I think this is awesome. Everyone seems so happy.”