CARnival Brings Friends Together for Socially Distant Fun

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.”

Read full article here on NJJN.

Girls play a spinning game at the CARnival. Photo by Robert Schneider.

20,000 Party for Shabbat

First-ever global pre-Shabbat party brings together families of special needs individuals.

You can still view the amazing event @

Or read this article about it, featured on! See here.

Thank you to the Morristown Police, Township, Fire Bureau and Department!

Thank you to the Morristown Police Department, Morris Township Police Department, Morristown Fire Bureau and Morris Township Fire Department for leading the parade and bringing smiles to so many children and families!

Full article here.

MORRISTOWN, NJ – Emergency vehicles, including local police and fire trucks, joined the staff and volunteers of Friendship Circle as they drove through Morristown and Morris Township on Sunday, May 31, to “visit” children with special needs in the Friendship Circle program.

The Friendship Circle’s mission is to create friendships for children, teens, and adults with special needs and those facing isolation. Through innovative programming, Friendship Circle aims to promote an inclusive community that values the soul of all individuals, regardless of the challenges they face.

At each stop, Friendship Circle families stood at the base of their driveway to wave and cheer as the car parade drove past their homes. Sometimes their neighbors joined in, watching from their own doorways and driveways. All visits were handled with strict social distancing, but with a festive atmosphere thanks to signs, car décor and the excitement of participants and viewers.

“This was the best day we’ve had in this quarantine,” said Lauren Jacobs-Lazer, whose children participate in Friendship Circle programs and was one of the six families visited by the car parade. “We know you are busy, and you took the time to bring so many smiles and laughs to several special families. We appreciate you very much.”

Police officials from both Morristown and Morris Township made the May 31 car parade possible. Previous Friendship Circle car parades have been held in Livingston, Short Hills, Millburn, West Orange and Caldwell.

“As hard as social isolation is for most people during this pandemic, it is impossibly difficult for people with special needs. Many parents report this has been devastating to their children, and that their behavioral challenges are greatly exacerbated by social isolation and disruption to their daily routine,” said Friendship Circle CEO Zalman Grossbaum. “What better way to ‘visit’ our families, while ensuring social distancing, than through a car parade with some of our local volunteers and law enforcement heroes!”