For more than a century, the Junior League of the Oranges and Short Hills (JLOSH) http://www.jlosh.org/ has been dedicated to improving life in our service areas that are now consisting of East Orange, Livingston, Maplewood, Millburn, Orange, Short Hills, South Orange, Springfield and West Orange.
JLOSH is a non-profit organization of 200+ women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. We are also part of a powerful network of more than 140,000 women in 291 communities in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Mexico who share the same mission. Collectively, we constitute one of the largest and most effective volunteer organizations in the world. We welcome all women who value our mission, and we are committed to inclusive environments of diverse individuals, organizations and communities.
Though the needs of our community have evolved over time, our commitment to improving it has never wavered. As our league enters its 107th year of service, we will continue to focus on addressing the basic needs of low-income children in our service areas. We will work on closing the gap on food insecurity, essential clothing needs, school supply gaps and basic hygiene needs of school-aged children living in poverty. We believe that when these basic needs are met with the necessary supplies and educational resources, low-income children can focus their energy on succeeding in school.
Over 100 years ago, a group of concerned young women living in the Oranges felt a need for a more meaningful involvement in their community. Miss Agnes Penrose and Miss Georgianna Holmes were inspired by the New York Junior League and with the help of Mr. W.W. Whitson, head of the Orange Bureau of Associated Charities, contacted local agencies to determine their volunteer needs. The response was overwhelming. In 1913, the membership call went out and 81 charter members responded to form the Junior League of the Oranges. Below is a recap of some of the greatest highlights from our League history.
In the early 2010s JLOSH focused its service goals on Children in Need. A new pilot program was launched called the Backpack Bonus Bag Program with the Community FoodBank of New Jersey to supplement the FoodBank’s Backpack Program. In 2011, the State Public Affairs Committee celebrated 40 years of advocacy on behalf of women and children in the state. The League installed its first Nurse’s Pantry in Orange and has continued to install them across our service area. In 2012, a new Provisional Class installed a Book Pantry at the Cleveland Street School in Orange and filled it with over 8,200 books.
In 2013 the League celebrated its 100th Anniversary and hosted a March Volunteer Madness event where 130 volunteers worked at 14 past and present community partners to complete service projects across the area.
The League also initiated the enormously successful Kids for Kids volunteer event during this time period. A highlight of our annual Community Service Events, the morning brings together JLOSH community partners and includes hands-on volunteer activities to help Essex County kids in need. The event also includes the Littlest Volunteer Contest. Local children are invited to submit their ideas on how they could help the local community with $100 in seed money.
Throughout the 2010s the League continued to provide Thanksgiving Baskets and reached a new height in 2018, providing 420 baskets to families in need in the Orange Public School District. JLOSH also continued to partner with local food pantries and food banks, hosting special packing events, food donation drives and volunteer events. In 2017, JLOSH partnered with Meeting Essential Needs with Dignity (MEND) and its network of food pantries to help launch the Green Bean Mobile Food Pantry.
In 2018, the League also joined the Association of Junior Leagues International Food Security Network. JLOSH is excited to be part of the Network, helping to reinforce our own community work on closing the food insecurity gap and filling basic needs.
Throughout the years, JLOSH community partnerships have continued to grow and develop, as the League continues to grow and evolve. What remains constant, is JLOSH's impact on the community as one of the most effective women's volunteer organizations.
JLOSH Little Black Dress 2019