Meri Pollock and a representative of a floral wholesaler prepare bouquets for J-ADD employees to deliver.
J-ADD, a Hackensack-based organization that offers support to people with developmental disabilities and their families, has begun an employment program for people living in their group homes. "Flowers by J-ADD" aims to provide jobs, experience, and crucial business training to J-ADD’s residents.
According to Meri Pollock, a vice president of J-ADD’s board of trustees and the program’s coordinator, the idea is to give jobs to those who use J-ADD’s services. "This gives jobs to people who need them at J-ADD, and it generates income at the same time," she says. The program was developed with guidance from the Entrepreneurial Training Institute of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, a state agency that encourages non-profit agencies to start small businesses.
Flowers will be supplied by a New Jersey wholesaler but sorted and distributed by J-ADD workers, with the help of the agency’s staff. "There are really three ways that our people can be involved," says J-ADD’s executive director, Dr. John J. Winer. "They’ll be helping sort the flower orders, once they arrive. They’ll deliver the flowers to pick-up sites. And down the road a bit, we hope to set up stands to sell the flowers and they’ll be staffing those."
The program was designed to follow the business model of the challah sales that take place weekly at many Jewish day schools. Families order and pay in advance by the semester, and the students bring the loaves home every Friday.
Individuals can place orders for the flower deliveries, which will take place on Fridays, beginning today, at two pick-up locations: the JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly and the UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey in River Edge. Beginning on Sunday, another pick-up location will be the Jewish Home at Rockleigh. Representatives of other agencies who would like to make their locations a pick-up site are also encouraged to call.
"This is a win-win situation," says Pollock. "This gives jobs to people with disabilities, while the profits go back into programs at J-ADD. And people have beautiful flowers on their Shabbat and holiday tables."
Customers can pre-order flowers on a weekly or monthly basis; flowers will vary week to week. A dozen roses cost $14.50, and fresh bouquets of mixed flowers are $18 or $36. Flowers may be ordered through J-ADD’s flier or by calling the agency at (’01) 457-0058, ext. 17. Bouquets will be delivered on the Friday following placement of the order.