First-grader donates birthday gifts to Morristown’s Neighborhood House

Seven-year-old Taylor Bock, right, with new friends at the Morristown Neighborhood House, where he donated his birthday gifts. Jan. 22, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Seven-year-old Taylor Bock, right, with new friends at the Morristown Neighborhood House, where he donated his birthday gifts. Jan. 22, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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Taylor Bock, who just turned 7, has a hard time pronouncing “philanthropy.”

But he has no trouble practicing it.

Taylor Bock, 7, at the Morristown Neighborhood House with his grandfather, Andy O'Connor, and his mom, Shannon O'Connor Bock, Jan. 22, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Taylor Bock, 7, at the Morristown Neighborhood House with his grandfather, Andy O’Connor; his mom, Shannon O’Connor Bock; and gifts Taylor donated from his birthday. Photo by Kevin Coughlin, Jan. 22, 2019. 

The 1st grader from the Briarwood School in Florham Park figured kids at the Morristown Neighborhood House might enjoy some gifts. So he decided to donate all his birthday presents to the Nabe.

“I wanted to give to them because they didn’t have that much stuff,” Taylor explained on Tuesday, when he delivered a cart loaded with games, toys and supplies to the nonprofit on Flagler Street.

Earlier this month, 22 friends and cousins celebrated his birthday at the Funplex in East Hanover. Taylor asked everyone to bring gifts from a list of items supplied by the Neighborhood House.

“This is stuff we don’t have in the building, extras we want to provide, but couldn’t without donations from the community,” said Jackie Looby, director of volunteers and programs for Cornerstone Family Programs, the Nabe’s parent organization.

The Nabe has provided services and programs for immigrant families for well over a century.

As Looby spoke, a gaggle of 1st- and 2nd graders pored over Taylor’s stash, which included everything from alphabet games and wooden puzzles to Play-Doh, clothes, baby wipes and a knapsack.

Jackie Looby of Cornerstone Family Programs and an after-school participant check out donated gifts from Taylor Bock, right, at the Morristown Neighborhood House, Jan. 22, 2019. Photo  by Kevin Coughlin
Jackie Looby of Cornerstone Family Programs and an after-school pupil check out donated gifts from Taylor Bock, right, at the Morristown Neighborhood House, Jan. 22, 2019. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Taylor became familiar with the Nabe via his mom, Shannon O’Connor Bock, a member of Cornerstone’s Corporate Leadership Council; and his grandfather, Andy O’Connor, a longtime member of Cornerstone’s board.

Friends and cousins of Taylor Bock gave him these birthday presents--which he donated to the Nabe. Photo courtesy of the Bock family.
Friends and cousins of Taylor Bock gave him these birthday presents–which he donated to the Nabe. Photo courtesy of the Bock family.

Interviewing Taylor is a challenge. A man of few words,  he prefers to let his actions do the talking. (Q: Why do you like the Nabe? Taylor: “The playground.” Q: Favorite class in school? Taylor: “Gym.”)

Asked how it felt to give away all those presents, Taylor grinned and came straight to the point: “Good!”

Looby hopes he spreads that simple message far and wide, to inspire others to similar generosity.

Philanthropy is a mouthful. So Looby has another word for the Nabe’s youngest benefactor.

“Taylor is a pioneer,” she said.

Guests at Taylor Bock's 7th birthday party brought special presents that he donated to the Morristown Neighborhood House. Photo courtesy of the Bock family.
Guests at Taylor Bock’s 7th birthday party brought special presents that he donated to the Morristown Neighborhood House. Photo courtesy of the Bock family.

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