MONTCLAIR, NJ – With only essential staff able to come into the hospital, Sydney Topf, a junior volunteer at Mountainside Medical Center, wasn’t able to work in the Progressive Care Unit, where she normally volunteers her time doing clerical tasks and assisting with cleaning the physical therapy equipment. With time on her hands and looking for a way to give back, Sydney learned about the organization Hearts of Hope.
“I am very passionate about working within my community”, said Sydney. “Even though we couldn’t be together physically, I knew there was a way I could make a difference while including members of my community and beyond to come together for an amazing cause.”
Hearts of Hope was created in response to the tragic of events of September 11, 2001. People are able to order “Hope Kits” to paint clay hearts and share messages of caring and compassion for those in need. Sydney then decided to take on the task to provide these hearts to Mountainside Medical Center team members to provide them with hope during the pandemic. Unable to go out in to her community to network and receive donations to order the kits, Sydney was able to receive a grant from The Santiago Abut Foundation which provided her with 125 clay hearts, ribbons, paint, pins, draw-string bags, and note cards.
“Sydney has given what it means to be a volunteer at Mountainside even more meaning,” said Grettel Muscato, Director of Volunteer Services at Mountainside Medical Center. “By simply donating her time to this task, she will lift the spirits of so many.”
With help from her father, Sydney set up shop in her garage and put together the kits to distribute. She then reached out to friends and family to assist in creating the hearts. Adhering to social distancing guidelines, she organized safe drop off to over 50 homes all over New Jersey and placed a box outside of her home so the hearts could be returned safely.
“Our volunteers are important to the work we do at the hospital,” said John Fromhold, CEO at Mountainside Medical Center. “Sydney went above and beyond the call of duty to make a difference to our Mountainside Medical Center team and we can’t thank her enough.”
Sydney hopes to continue working with Hearts of Hope and has since formed a chapter at Montclair High School with 30 of her classmates. Her next goal is to contribute to the Black Lives Matter movement and provide hearts to the families of victims that have lost loved ones to police brutality.