Yin Chang-Darcy of Glen Ridge is passionate about helping others. She has run a local STEM program for children in town, volunteers on the Glen Ridge Conference Committee (CCC) that supports people running for board positions in town, runs the Glen Ridge NJ Community Facebook page, and most recently started a group called Button Soup, which brings hot meals to the homeless in Newark on Sundays.
Right before the pandemic started, Yin heard about a group called WGT that fills a bus weekly with food and necessities to bring to the homeless. She asked if they needed hot meals, and they said, “Yes.” Knowing that she could not make 125 hot meals herself, she reached out to the local community and surrounding areas for help, which caused her to create Button Soup.
Through the help of volunteers, the group makes 125 hot meals a week, which are delivered to WGT to be taken to Newark on Sundays. Yin says most folks make breakfast meals like pancakes, eggs, sausages, and more. On average, each participant makes 10-20 meals to be donated. They can make all of the same thing or can make different meals. The goal is to give the people being served the dignity of choice. Many of the volunteers then ride the WGT bus to the distribution location and help serve the meals.
She says that her group also collects necessities like tents, sleeping bags, survival kits and socks to be donated.
For those who don’t cook, but still want to help, there are opportunities to pick up and drive meals to Newark, to clean out the WGT storage unit, to help organize items collected and more.
In addition, Yin often suggests that while people are donating items and meals, that they also donate boxes or canned items to Toni’s Kitchen.
Yin says that “people want to help but don’t always know how.” She strives to make the volunteer opportunity at Button Soup easy and meaningful.
“One person can make a difference, but many people working together is more powerful,” says Yin.
Aside from delivering meals, Yin also enjoys talking with the people she is serving. She says, “They are so grateful and I wish more people could have the experience of talking with them and hearing their stories. They are a joy.”
“I think people don’t realize how much they have,” she says. “They worry about the little things. But when you speak to these people it puts everything into perspective.”
Yin’s message to anyone who wants to help is, “Don’t wish you could help— just do it.”