Grantee Blog 2020

The Pathway to Getting Back Together

By increments we are coming back together here in NJ. Inch by inch we are returning to normal at GRACE, and that means increased but safe togetherness.  We have dispensed with the distribution via carline and hand out supplies (masked) face to (masked) face.

To protect the people and their families, we have created a system where a handful of shoppers at a time can come through our headquarters to pick up groceries and supplies.  The effect is two fold.   There is increased chance of receiving what shoppers want and need.  Unfortunately, there can be a 15-30 minute wait.

This wait time presents an opportunity for fitness and fun.  But what to do when the adjacent playgrounds are closed?  That’s a problem Elizabeth McIlroy, a Summit-based registered occupational therapist, solved with a little ingenuity and sidewalk chalk.  Ms. McIlroy put her knowledge of sensory needs with her deep and abiding empathy and created black-top based obstacle courses called sensory pathways.

She explains, “These pathway address so many skills that children need to develop, such as motor planning, coordination/balance, and following instructions.  The course is engaging, and can be tailored so that it addresses the unique needs of each individual. Times are tough right now.  The places where kids are supposed to learn, grow, and develop are currently shut down.  There are so restrictions that limit accessibility. There are no limitations with these pathways. The opportunities are endless!”

Children from GRACE got to play and burn some energy while their parents shopped and took care of their family’s needs.

The ways we come together right now may not look the way they used to.  We are learning at GRACE that if we create our togetherness with the same spirit of kindness and mutual support, we can generate the same result:  joy, relief, and wellbeing.

About the Grantee


GRACE stands for Giving and Receiving Assistance for our Community’s Essentials. While essentials can mean nutrient-dense food, we also aspire to enable the security, stabilization and success for all our community’s households.